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When it comes to climate change, one thing is certain: our oceans are rising. And South Florida is expected to be among the first regions on Earth to experience the impact. In fact, some initial preparations are already underway. WLRN-Miami Herald News presents a series of stories about the effects of sea-level rise. The project is called “Elevation Zero: Rising Seas In South Florida." Click through the pages below to see our entire archive of Elevation Zero stories.

South Florida Protesters Push For Federal Action On Climate Change

Kate Stein
Protesters pushing for government action on climate change make their way down Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. They were part of the nationwide "People's Climate March."

For the second weekend in a row, protesters marched across the country against President Donald Trump's policies.

In South Florida, hundreds of protesters gathered on Saturday in North Palm Beach, Miami, Mar-A-Lago, and George English Park in Fort Lauderdale, all designated sites for the "People's Climate March" to push for government action on climate change. 

In Fort Lauderdale, worries about equity intersected with concern for the environment.

Emma Collum, Fort Lauderdale resident and executive director for the Florida chapter of the Women’s March, a group that led an international protest the day after President Trump was elected, says she’s concern that rising seas will have a huge impact on lower-income South Floridians.

"In the not-so-distant future, the sea wall doesn’t have the capacity to keep out the water that continues to rise," said Collum. "We’re looking at a very significant increase in flood insurance for the residents in Fort Lauderdale. That disproportionately impacts those individuals and communities who live on these flood lines, who simply cannot afford to bear the economic burden of living in this community."

Richard Whitecloud, founding director of the rescue and conservation group  Sea Turtle Oversight, says climate change and sea level rise are destroying turtle nesting sites on Florida’s coasts. But that’s not the only reason he was protesting.

"So much of the population of the state of Florida lives within 25 miles of the coastline. And over the next coming decades, we’re going to see massive sea level rise and saltwater intrusion not into, not only into our urban areas, but also into our freshwater aquifers," said Whitecloud.

He said he'd like government leaders to enforce current environmental regulations, rather than eliminating them. "Deregulation of the EPA and all the other environmental agencies that are associated with environmental protection is appalling."

This is the second national protest in a series of at least three. Last weekend was the March for Science; on Monday, May Day, there's a protest for workers’ and immigrants’ rights.

This post has been updated with the correct date for the nationwide workers' and immigrants' rights protest.

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