Liberty City & Little Haiti Residents Discuss Climate Change
Climate 101 Workshop helps break down climate science, seriousness and solutions to address climate change
Miami, FL – Over two dozen community residents turned out Wednesday night to learn climate science and how rising sea levels and other environmental issues associated with climate change threatens to the future of communities like Liberty City and Little Haiti.
The free educational workshop for residents and small businesses, organized by The CLEO Institute and presented by New Florida Majority climate organizer Valencia Gunder and EchoTech Visions’ Kenyona Pierre . The workshop was as part of a community outreach grant supported by the Miami Foundation and the University of Miami Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies. Attendees also included representatives from Miami Dade County Office of Resilience, members of the Muhammad Mosque No. 29, Agenda 2016 and the Broadway Art District.
“It’s important that people understand that these environmental issues have practical consequences on everyday life right here in our neighborhood, “said Gunder, a resident of Liberty City. “We are reaching out into the community so that people know not only that there is a problem, but that we can also be part of the solution.”
Residents learned some of the basic science around rising temperatures, ocean acidification, extreme weather patterns and other examples of climate change. Prolonged heat waves, fresh water contamination and increased energy costs were just some of the practical disruptions that threatened to worsen quickly in the coming years without action.
“I am a plumber, how can start making changes in my business to be more green,” mentioned one resident. “I want everyone in my community to be aware,” said Mr. Harewood, resident and promotion director for the Broadway Art District.
The Climate Change 101 workshop organized by The CLEO Institute, complements a series of events that New Florida Majority is organizing as part of the Miami Frontlines Coalition to educate and solicit the opinion of local residents on environmental issues that immediately threaten the future of Miami residents. NewFM members have also spent the last several weeks meeting and writing letters to local city officials reiterating the necessity of having community interests fully represented in the city’s resiliency plans.
Gunder said that being named as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative should help provide city officials with the money and research to help combat the current environmental crisis. However, without community education and actions, resiliency plans risk being tailed to benefit only an informed few.
“Experiences like Flint, Newark, New Orleans and New York City show us that when we are not active, our families and communities are left out of the decision-making processes,” said Gunder.
Caroline Lewis, founder and executive director of The CLEO Institute, agreed.
“Much of what we think of as the climate disruptions — changes to heat exposure, health patterns, extreme weather events, food and freshwater availability, and population displacement — disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our society, who have fewer resources and safety nets,” said Lewis. “Those voices must be actively involved to shape resolutions for resiliency plans to ultimately succeed.”
ABOUT MIAMI FRONTINES COALTION
The Miami Frontlines Coalition is a group of community organizations, businesses and leaders who are dedicated to ensuring that climate changes resolutions don’t shut out low-income and working class neighborhoods. Coalition members include FANM-Society of Haitian Women, New Florida Majority, the Miami Workers Center, Dream Defenders, Roots Collective, South Florida Voices for Working Families, Agenda 2016, Broadway Art District/Broadway Development Project, EcoTech Visions, PowerU, iCARE / DC Consulting, Women in Leadership Miami, and Make the Homeless Smile.
ABOUT CLEO INSTITUTE
The CLEO Institute is a non-profit that drives climate action through public education and engagement. Residents who care deeply about the future of their communities can reach out to our Media Contact for more information. For more information on workshops and resources to combat climate change in your area, visit the organization’s website at: http://www.cleoinstitute.org/
The CLEO Institute’s Community project made possible, in part, by a Miami Foundation grant, as part of a series of four community meetings organized to identify local priorities in the face of risks posed by climate change.