By Jeff Dorian, Citizens’ Climate Lobby
My family moved to Miami from Pittsburgh, Pa. in 1962. We joined millions of others eager to escape winter; that migration continues today.
Much of my youth was spent close to nature in fast growing Miami. The biggest attraction was the beach, to surfing, fishing and boating. In the early 80s I loved and worked on Miami Beach, attracted by its transition to glamor.
My daughter brought me back to Miami Beach in 2016. I’d been traveling in my retirement for several years. She had returned from a postgraduate trial of living in San Francisco.
She had a great apartment on South Beach and worked nearby. She left in less than two years, fed up with going barefoot to work through flooded streets and water coming up through sewers because of rising sea levels.
The area is becoming a soggy set for a disaster movie. In my years working there, I had never seen the sunny-day tidal flooding that afflicts the area today.
It’s not just the beach that’s flooding. Warning signs are widespread. When rounding a bend while flats fishing in Everglades National Park in the early 90s, I surprised a small flock of Roseate Spoonbills foraging near shore. Now, facing starvation due to sea-level rise in the Everglades, they’ve all migrated north. Is it related that three of my close associates have recently moved to North Carolina?
The world my generation is leaving behind makes me ashamed.
Because I couldn’t bear the thought of losing Miami to the sea, I began to learn more and join with others to raise awareness of solutions. I’ve become committed to promoting the transition to advanced clean energy, which is the solution to the greatest challenge of our time.
Since downsizing in my retirement, my carbon footprint is minimal. I vote to support climate affirmers.
I learned that the most important thing I can do is to try to persuade members of Congress to help America lead this transformation. Individual actions are important, but no matter how popular, they won’t move the needle enough.
That’s why so many of us have joined organizations to demand action. There are many groups that promote climate challenge solutions: 350.org, Fridays for Future, and the CLEO Institute, to name a few.
A local retiree recently told me he wants to find the most effective organization to devote his time to. I Googled conservative grassroots climate action organizations and came up with Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) and Republic En, so there is, in fact, something for everyone.
Congress can help advance the development of clean energy. A good example is getting power grids built quickly to transmit clean-energy power to population centers.
It presents a permitting nightmare, taking up to 10 years. Only the federal government can speed this process. Despite the divisiveness in today’s political rhetoric, the majority of our members of Congress are aware of the urgent need to act.
Miami native Sen. Marco Rubio and South Florida’s members of Congress will find support for their climate mitigation efforts with their voters. South Florida is ground zero. Let’s support our new Congress to serve the common good for a livable future.
Jeff Dorian is a community volunteer for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
“The Invading Sea” is the opinion arm of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.