Broward County is nestled between two of the most wondrous and fragile ecosystems in the world, the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean. Both of these natural areas are economic engines that drive our tourism economy and vital to the health of our region. Democrats understand the significance of protecting these important natural resources for our immediate and future generations. To do this we must embrace common sense protections and policies based on sound science that mitigate environmental impacts to our natural resources, and embrace smarter growth, transportation and energy strategies. The threat of climate change on our region’s coasts and waterways could be devastating if human impacts are not curbed and given proper attention in policy making.
Broward Democrats support the use of quantifiable scientific evidence to derive environmental policy decisions. Broward Democrats support protection of air and water quality, conservation of natural resources, Everglades restoration, endangered species and fisheries protections, ocean conservation, sustainable construction, recycling, natural wildlife areas and corridors, and protection from commercial toxins with proven adverse health effects.
“Since day one, President Obama has been a strong leader on environmental issues. Whether it was setting historic fuel economy standards or doubling renewable electricity, President Obama has always fought to give our kids a stronger, more sustainable future. In fact, our carbon pollution has dropped to the lowest level in nearly 20 years.
I have admired his work on all of these fronts, but his recent call to action on climate change really hits home.
As a representative of South Florida, climate change threatens the very existence of our communities. Since the 1920s alone, we’ve experienced 9-inches of sea-level rises. This may sound inconsequential but if trends continue or accelerate as we pump more greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, communities like mine in South Florida and coastal communities all across the country face a desperate fight against rising sea levels.
In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the sea level could rise more than six feet by the end of the century. If this happens, there is no doubt that much of South Florida, will be underwater, since half of the region is less than five feet above sea level. Even a three foot rise would result in one third of South Florida being covered by seawater.
We are Floridians. Our kids get civic lessons on how to prepare for hurricanes. We have processes in place for dealing with these types of natural disasters. We’ve survived dozens of weather related emergencies. We’ve recovered and rebuilt. But while we may be prepared for more immediate weather emergencies, we have not come to terms with the slow, gradual rise of the tides that will leave our communities underwater.
But sea level “could” rise is the important distinction here. It means that we still have an opportunity to reverse course. It means hope for the millions of families in Florida and other communities across our country. And it means that our actions today can affect the outcomes tomorrow.
President Obama is leading on the issue. He’s put forth a bold plan to reduce carbon pollution, accelerate the development of clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in sustainable and resilient infrastructure projects to prepare for the effects of climate change. But he can’t do it alone. We need to Congress to act before it’s too late, and before Miami becomes the next great American attraction for snorkelers and dive enthusiasts alike.”