As part of Community Conversations, we asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: Is South Florida doing enough to address climate change? Thanks for all of your responses. Below is a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.
There is much talk but in my opinion little definite planning. Pumps are useless. We must consider building levees and raising the level of our streets — not building in flood zones. The temperature is at least 10 degrees warmer here than when I was boy. I am saddened when I see 150 world leaders meeting to control climate change and a major political party denies it. When I recently visited Asia the pollution from fossil fuels was terrible.
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William Ingraham, Miami Shores
As a native of Miami Beach, I have noted numerous extra high tides throughout my 50+ years of living here. It has only been in recent times that they are now called “king” tides and people are focusing on them. They were extra high this year in South Florida, not because of global warming, but because the moon was 10 percent closer to the Earth that it normally is this time of year, causing the increased sea level rise. I live on a tidal ocean-access canal. When I moved into my house 33 years ago, I noted a horizontal crack running along a portion of my seawall and I noted the water line distance from the crack. In 33 years, the high tide and low tide marks are still relatively the same distance from the crack in the seawall.
Bruce Lamberto, North Miami Beach
I live in Miami Beach, and we are really working on developing the necessary strategies to address the situation. I think the city is doing several improvements to avoid the constant flooding but still a long way to solve the problem. Climate change is real and we the people of South Florida are already being affected by this situation. I think all mayors of our coastal areas have to work in conjunction with the experts and scientists to be able to take the right measurements, quickly, to fight the future sea level rising. I will organize a summit every year to assess the progress and the situation.
Domenica Brazzi, Miami Beach
If sea level is rising, why are the sea ports being dredged? If sea level is rising, why is the Everglades being restored, in spite of the “fact” that it will soon be under salt water? The frenetic pace of construction in Miami and along the beach is proof prima facie that no one believes that sea level is rising. The wealthy, well-informed, well-connected people of the world are pouring money into Miami, which will soon be under salt water according to the friends of Al Gore. Climate change is fraud, a make-work cause to squander money. South Florida should not join the stampede of lemmings running off the cliff. The climate is not changing and sea level is not rising.
Hallett Stiles, North Miami
I think that we are doing a lot of things reactive rather than proactive. Although South Florida is working slowly to address sea level rise, not too much is being done to control the emissions that are adding to the global warming. There seems to be no push for reliable rapid transit to areas where we live and work. Not only are most of the highways in a constant state of “rush hour,” but new lanes are being built. The bottom line is Florida is one of the most vulnerable states for climate change, Our politicians can deny this “...’til the high tides rise,” but, reality will get us in the end.
Charles Peters, Miami
Florida isn’t doing nearly enough to address climate change. We need to be relying more on solar and wind power, natural sources of energy for us in South Florida. Here in the Keys, we need to be composting our yard waste to use as new earth with which to increase the elevation of Keys roadways and land areas. We’re doing none of these things.
Stephen Ragusea, Sugarloaf Key
We may have some local politicians who have this on their radar but unfortunately we have others who are more interested in their own pockets and agenda. I have lived on the beach for almost 13 years. These past two summers have not only been the longest, but also the hottest summers. The temperature when I moved here in 2003 rarely went above 90 degrees, ever. Now, it was 10 days ago that the temperature actually went below 80 degrees overnight. There always used to be a breeze — no more. The climate has changed and in this state the top people are so filled with greed and power that they cannot turn their myopic eye in a direction to save what will one day (sooner than later) return to a swamp.
Philip Berry, Miami Beach
According to the Tide Gauge at Virginia Key, the sea level is rising at one inch a year. In a few years we will start losing land to the sea like the southern end of the Mississippi delta. At the Miami-Dade delegation public hearing there were several government officials asking for funds to help deal with flooding as a result of the rising sea. I spoke to them as the representative from 350 South Florida and told them that we are going to need money from the state in a few years to help cities and county governments deal with climate change here in Southern Florida.
Robert Mandell, Miami
I think we are doing a better job than Gov Scott. He is a good businessman but a lousy interpreter of the science. I think we clearly have in Miami-Dade County an administration that takes global warming seriously. I do see the beginning of attempts to address the issue but we are still a long, long way from implementing a unified and thorough approach to the inevitable. Hopefully we will get our acts together before it is too late.
Michael Troner, Miami
South Florida has some leaders, like the mayor of South Miami, civic leaders and academics at its universities, who are voicing their concerns and appealing to state and national leaders. However, residents of South Florida must do their part by organizing and hitting politicians and corporations where it hurts on this issue: the ballot box, procurement and sales. Our hope remains with citizens and their mayors and city councils for real leadership on this issue, since state and national governments are gridlocked.
Nelson Abreu, Coral Gables