Julian’s Climate Story 


Julian Brubaker


Everglades National Park, 33194

How are you sensing climate change?

As a kid, I visited Everglades a lot and just loved the birds, gators, and rare monkeys (the monkeys were not in the park but in nearby conservatories). The park does a good job of constructing walkways so that visitors can get quite close to the wildlife, and park rangers do a good job of explaining animals’ behavior and interactions with their environment. Park informational material almost NEVER mentions the phrase “climate change” let alone “climate collapse,” but they do describe the many shifts to the environment: for example, a depleting watershed due to human overconsumption, rising sea levels, & increased natural disasters (which sadly made extinct the small colonies of monkeys). I had not visited Everglades in over a decade until this past winter, and the changes I saw firsthand were stark. The wildlife is already less diverse. Nonnative species are taking over. Ranger and research stations are being rebuilt following intense coastal storms, and others are being left in disrepair because the sea will swallow them in the coming years. I remember feeding the monkeys bananas from my hands as a child (shh, don’t tell PETA) but now they’re completely gone from the ecosystem. Lost biodiversity is not only sad & nostalgic, it’s also a direct detriment to human research. Roseate spoonbills are far less common, which is not only a disruption in the natural, rosy beauty of the Everglades but a disruption to natural cycles of grazing and predation. One magical moment when I revisited this past winter was watching the sunset from the tip of the Florida coast near the keys, glancing up in surprise as I heard the rushing wind & beating wings of a flock of spoonbills flying just overhead. These magical moments are fleeting and irreversibly in decline.

How do these changes make you feel?

So so bittersweet. This oasis that I loved as a child, and learned so much from, and was excited & enriched so much from, is now changing in front of my very eyes. It will never be the same. Much will be lost. My children will never experience the same Everglades as I, if they can even experience the park at all. Luckily, I’ve taken a few photos that I can share as a poor imitation of the breathtaking beauty of the Everglades.





Everglades National Park, 33194

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