Naked Politics

Climate change activists target debate with ads, billboards, art

Artist Marcus Blake works with children on a climate change mural at the Motivational Edge in Allapattah.
Artist Marcus Blake works with children on a climate change mural at the Motivational Edge in Allapattah. Miami Climate Alliance

The face of the solemn-looking young boy on a billboard hovers over the television satellite trucks on Northwest Second St. ahead of tonight’s Democratic debate.

“The last five years have been the hottest on record. #ClimateEmergency,’’ reads the sign.

It’s a hot-button trigger aimed at putting the heat on the Democratic candidates for president by climate activists.

With rallies, video ads and billboards, climate activists have launched a sustained effort to remind the candidates they want solutions to the rising sea level issues.

“Miami’s underwater and feeling the heat,’’ is the name of the traveling mural, produced by multimedia artist Marcus Blake working with children in four Miami-area neighborhoods that are feeling the impact of climate change -- Allapattha, Little Havana, Liberty City and Little Haiti.

The murals will be on display during rallies that proceed from the Freedom Tower to the Adrienne Arsht Center each of the two nights the candidates hold the debates.

The Environmental Defense Fund’s political committee, EDF Action, also is funding a nearly $90,000 billboard, transit, and digital ad campaign that includes video ads in English and Spanish streaming in taxi cabs on the route to the debate.

The Miami Climate Alliance on Tuesday hosted Washington Gov. Jay Inslee who took questions from the audience at the Frost Museum of Science who has made tackling climate change his primary issue this campaign.

Climate change was one of the three issues highlighted by local Democrats Wednesday, in addition to immigration and gun reform.

“We are not getting a lot of help from the federal government,’’ said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, whose city has advanced a multi-million dollar bond to pay for storm water resilience in the face of sunny-day flooding from rising seas. “These are surmountable challenges if you have the political will.”