Too often these days, for those of us working on climate change, many messages from social media seem to imply a bleak future with problems too big to tackle and seemingly ignored by those in powerful positions who might be able to make a difference. We want to set the record straight. There is a way for each of us to be involved and build climate hope through real actions. With the help of an amazing Climate Mama from Florida, Sandi Schwartz, we want to help show you how it’s done. All around the country, and around the world, parents, families and children are digging in and getting to work on climate solutions. With sleeves rolled up, we are creating positive solutions and opportunities and encouraging others to join us and get involved. At ClimateMama, with the help of folks like Sandi, we are thrilled to highlight some of the many unsung heroes who are not waiting for politicians or the media to catch up, but who are already hard at work addressing climate change.
How South Florida Families Are Working To Address Climate Change
If you look at the projection maps for sea level rise, South Florida is ground zero for feeling the effects of climate change. The City of Miami Beach, for example, already experiences king tides, which happen when the sun is out and the weather is completely dry. Florida has 1,350 miles of coastline, and most of the area is less than a foot above sea level, so it does not take much for flooding to quickly seep into our neighborhoods.
Many people in Florida are realizing that sea level rise and more intense, frequent storms could cause serious problems. However, we are no California. Sadly, our state government leadership is skeptical about climate change, and a bill just passed in the last legislative session that allows citizens to remove textbooks from schools that teach about climate change.
Although we are faced with a bit of an uphill battle in Florida, we have many climate heroes as well who are an inspiration to all of us.
Young Local Climate Heroes
One young national climate hero who hails from Florida is Levi Draheim. At only 9 years old, he is one of the children suing the Federal government through Our Children’s Trust. The children allege that the federal government, through its actions and coordination with the fossil fuel industry, have violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to a livable climate. Our Children’s Trust is also working with youth in Florida to file a new state level case. If you or your children are interested in learning more, contact Our Children’s Trust today!
Another local hero is Delaney Reynolds, a college student at the University of Miami’s Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and founder of The Sink or Swim Project. She grew up in the Florida Keys surrounded by water, which peaked her interest in global warming and the threat of sea level rise. She speaks with kids around the world about climate change and what they can do to help, and is a published author and illustrator of children’s books on ecological topics.
A group of four Florida middle school students went beyond the classroom to make incredible environmental improvements in their school and throughout the community. They were so concerned about sea level rise impacting Miami, that they conducted a school energy audit with the help of the non-profit Dream in Green. They created an educational program to teach their fellow students about energy savings and other sustainability topics. When they moved over to high school, they continued their efforts and ended up saving the school about $5,000 in just one year. Check out this inspiring video about their story.
What Families Can Do
Here are some ways that families can get involved in South Florida and beyond.
Museums: The first step is to teach your kids about climate change. South Florida has so many amazing museums with exhibits about climate change. The Museum of Discovery and Science in Ft. Lauderdale teaches kids about weather and their carbon footprint. The H2O Today exhibit at the Frost Museum of Science in Miami shows how climate change, population growth, and pollution affected the water cycle and weather patterns. Other museums to check out in the area are Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, and Loggerhead Marine Life Center.
Marches and Rallies: In April, both the March for Science and People’s Climate March took place all over the world. I attended the ones in West Palm Beach, Florida. These types of events are a terrific way to show your children the importance of speaking up for what they believe in. Look for more of these opportunities for families to join together on climate change.
Volunteer Groups: Join a local group of moms already fighting for the environment. Moms Clean Air Force is a community of a million moms and dads united against air pollution and climate change to protect our children’s health. They provide members with online resources, articles, action tools, and on-the-ground events. There is a specific group for Florida families, but you can also find one in your state as well.
Contact Government Leaders: Making calls and writing to our government leaders has quickly become the norm for so many Americans. There is no reason that you can’t get your kids involved as well. Kids 4 Planet Earth challenges kids to write letters to the President about climate change. Consider organizing a letter writing playdate and having your kids send postcards to other government officials like your mayor, governor, and members of Congress. Create your own recycled postcards using this awesome tutorial.
I hope that more Florida families will do their part to ensure that we slow down the impacts of climate change in our state and throughout the world.
Resources: P.S. Check out Climate Central’s Surging Seas, app and website to learn more about sea level rise and what it will mean for YOUR community.