When a region wants to break away from its state or from the U.S.—whether we're talking about Texas, Vermont, or the former Confederate states—it's usually because of government, politics, and money. But for the city of South Miami, which earlier this month passed a resolution to separate southern from northern Florida, the main concern is climate change.
North and South Florida have had their differences for decades, says Walter Harris, vice mayor of South Miami. South Florida is largely urban and leans left, he says, whereas the north—where the capital, Tallahassee, is located—is mostly rural and much more conservative.
These long-standing political divisions are further fueled by an economic imbalance: According to the resolution for independence, 69 percent of Florida's 22 billion dollars of tax revenue comes from the 24 counties in the southern part of the state.
But the recent acceleration of climate change is what drove Harris, who put forward the resolution for independence earlier this month, to action.
Economic and political divisions "would be reason enough" to split, says Harris, "but now you add the reality of global warming." The rising sea level is of particular concern. Where the northern part of the state is on average 120 feet above sea level, much of the southern portion averages 15 feet above sea level, the resolution reads.