Attention, young people.
I’m here to address your retirement. I know it seems like such a distant future, especially since the retirement age is going to be about 80 by the time it’s your turn.
But if you hope to stay in Florida, imagining yourself spending your mid-21st Century golden years in some golf course community or a luxury high-rise condo near the beach, you might want to recalibrate your aspirations.
The long-term planning of your elected leaders in Washington may be putting your Florida retirement plans in doubt.
Especially if the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee gets its way.
The committee is planning to scale back NASA’s Earth Science Division while also calling for a long-range plan that would create “sustained human presence on the Moon and the surface of Mars.”
These two items, I think, may be related.
You see, the Earth Science Division of NASA has been documenting the effects that man-made climate change is having on Earth. This is not welcomed science to the lawmakers who run the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
For example, U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), who chairs that committee’s subcommittee on environment, is not a big fan of regulating greenhouse gases, which isn’t surprising, considering that in the last election cycle, the oil and gas industry were his primary campaign contributors.
“I’m not as convinced as a lot of people are that man-made climate change is the threat they think it is,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune in March.
NASA scientists are less equivocal.
“On Earth, human activities are changing the natural greenhouse,” NASA’s website says. “Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”
So it makes sense that political leaders beholden to the short-term economic interests of carbon-producing energy companies are doing what they can to remove NASA from the chorus of independent scientists clamoring about the effects of climate change on the planet.
But the good news for you is that these leaders are also looking for other places in the Solar System where you might spend your retirement.
Let’s face it, you’re not going to want to stick around Florida. As the ice caps melt and the seas rise, Palm Beach County, like the rest of South Florida, won’t be such a tempting retirement paradise.
Not everybody’s going to be able to afford an oceanfront condo in Loxahatchee or want to live in a region where the underground drinking water supply has been corrupted by saltwater intrusion.
If you’re lucky, the plan for sustained human presence on the Moon may be in place by the time you’re ready to retire. And you’ll be ready and eager to launch from the Kennedy Space Center to your new home in the Sea of Tranquility Estates.
Once there, you’ll get to join your local cosmo board and debate the merits of hiring a new lunascaper. And you’ll marvel at the length of your tee shots while playing low-gravity golf.
Sure, there will be some trade offs. The grand kids won’t visit. Craters and lunar rovers driven by retirees will be a dangerous combination. And when the dark-side temperature drops to minus-240 degrees, it’ll be tough getting the dog out for his nightly walk.
So you might want to also check out the brochures for the villas on Mars.
Either way, it’s comforting knowing that your government is looking out for you, making sure that you won’t have to settle for what’s left of Florida when you retire.