Rremember when Donald Trump has reportedly suggested we destroy hurricanes to stop their attack on the United States? This idea was obviously ridiculous and rightly ridiculed. In the end, however, Trump’s ideas weren’t much more absurd than the accepted status quo in the US — which is to build large amounts of housing on land vulnerable to natural disasters. Fantasies about nuclear hurricanes are, after all, as ludicrous as fantasizing that millions of people could be transported to asphalt swamps in the state most devastated by hurricanes in the US without disaster.

I’m talking about Florida, of course. In 1960, about five million people lived in the Sunshine State. Now that number is about 22 million. Over the past few decades, Florida has experienced a construction and population boom, with millions of people occupying land that is completely uninhabitable. “Florida’s story is a story of development happening in times and places where perhaps it shouldn’t be,” says a member of the environmental nonprofit Florida Conservation Voters. told Politico recently.

As Hurricane Ian showed, that’s an understatement. At least 103 dead, thousands missing, 1.8 million dead kicked out of their homes due to Hurricane Jan. This the fifth the most powerful storm to hit the continental US and could be the nation’s costliest storm Florida History.

My heart goes out to all those affected. But at such a time, thoughts and prayers are not enough. If we want to prevent this kind of devastation from happening again, we have to admit it Hurricane Jan was not so much a natural disaster as a man-made one.

As environmental media Grist documented, “At the root of Southwest Florida’s vulnerability is a development technique called cut-and-fill. Developers dug earth from the bottom of rivers and swamps, then piled it up until it rose from the water.’ Swamps turned into expensive real estate. Growth, growth, growth followed regardless of cost. Now the bill has arrived.