South Floridians: What Do You Think Officials Should Do About Climate Change?

Apr 27, 2017

Officials from four South Florida counties are collecting public input on an updated regional plan to address climate change and related challenges.

The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Action Plan came out in 2012 and is a partnership involving Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties. Officials collaborated on strategies to improve resiliency in everything from agriculture to transportation and emergency management.

Now they're working on a scheduled update and want the help of South Florida residents, activists, researchers and businesses.

At a public comment session in Coconut Creek on Thursday, members of the coalition behind the revision said a main goal is equity -- making sure all South Floridians have their concerns addressed.

"We all live here together, and so we’re making an extra effort to make sure that everyone feels welcome to be part of this process moving forward," said Nancy Schneider, a senior officer at the nonprofit that's helping the coalition, the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Schneider said an equity working group oversaw portions of the revision of the plan, and officials taking comments at Thursday's session were instructed to ask whether the recommendations represent every community member.

The focus on equity in the face of climate change was important to Carolyn Siegelman, a Plantation resident and member of the Broward chapter of the Women’s March.

"It's not just environmental," she said. "Environmental intersects with all the different issue groups we have."

She said she'd like the plan to help people in lower-income neighborhoods recycle and learn about the environment.

Francisco Pérez, a marine biologist from Fort Lauderdale, said he came with several ideas to comment on, but that renewable energy was especially important.

"There are some things that individuals need to do, but there are some things that the government needs to do in terms of policy and in terms of moving us away from fossil fuels," he said.

Schneider said the coalition welcomes all input: "changes, additions, edits or even new ideas."

Thurday's public comment session goes until 7 p.m. at the North Regional/Broward College Library in Coconut Creek. Schneider said the revised Regional Climate Action Plan will also be available to review online this summer, and a final revision is scheduled for release in December.