Without Federal or State Support, Mayors in Florida Drive Climate Solutions

As sea levels continue to rise around the globe due to climate change, low-lying cities and regions will be particularly affected. In the United States, this is especially true in Florida, where 2.4 million people live within 4 feet of the high-tide line. Despite the impending danger of severe flooding, federal and state representatives have been reluctant and unwilling to act. However, once again, local community leaders have risen to the challenge, and are pursuing bold action plans to manage the already rising sea level.

In Miami Beach, on the southern tip of Florida, officials have sprung into action. The city’s Mayor, Philip Levine is resolute, saying: “we’re going to show that Miami Beach is not going to sit back and go underwater.” And they are boldly stepping up to the challenge—building new roadways several feet above ground level, stockpiling water pumps, and even advising businesses to vacate the first story of buildings in preparation for severe flooding.

Despite the bleak outlook, local and city officials are taking action in communities throughout Florida. Their resolve is an example of how government that is closest to the people can often have the greatest impact. Community leaders can work together for climate solutions by joining with others at Path to Positive.

Climate change crusade goes local

By Doug Struck | The Christian Science Monitor | AUGUST 9, 2015

MIAMI BEACH — Florida’s state leaders are running hard from climate change. The governor, Rick Scott, doesn’t want state employees to even utter the words. Former Gov. Jeb Bush and US Sen. Marco Rubio, both Republican presidential aspirants, offer a medley of objections to scientists’ calls for bold action on climate change.

Eric Carpenter shrugs. The director of Miami Beach’s Public Works Department sits at his desk, poring over tables of high tides on his computer. He is calculating how many pumps he needs to buy to keep the city’s streets from being flooded from a rising sea caused by climate change.

Under a broiling sun, he takes a visitor a few blocks from his office, to where contractors are pouring concrete to replace a section of a city street. The new roadway is being laid incongruously 2-1/2 feet above the sidewalk cafe tables and storefront entrances at the old street level. The extra height is in preparation for the seas and tides that Mr. Carpenter already sees engulfing this section of Miami Beach.

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