Michael Grunwald is an energy and climate journalist who lives in south Florida. He loves Florida. But he also loves to poke fun at Florida’s poor planning. In 2017, he wrote a piece for POLITICO about Cape Coral — the boomtown built on swampland that is uniquely vulnerable to hurricanes.
Cape Coral is a city of 200,000 people in Southwest Florida. It’s basically a wetland, nestled next to Fort Myers – one of the fastest growing areas in the country.
Construction of Cape Coral started in the late 1950s. It was the vision of two brothers who got wealthy peddling baldness tonic from wool grease. They knew how to sell anything, including a city built on water.
And then, in late September, Hurricane Ian rolled in. The near-category 5 hurricane knocked out the city’s water supply, electricity, and left most houses underwater. Mike wrote an update to that piece, reminding readers about the “fantasy” propping up Southwest Florida.
This week, We talk with Mike Grunwald about Florida’s unwillingness to plan for climate change – and what a nearby solar-powered city that weathered Hurricane Ian tells us about what’s possible.
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