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Tue Apr 16, 2019, 08:04 AM

Well, Good Luck: Teenagers Meet With FL Legislators Who Just Can't Stall Climate Action Hard Enough


Kore was one of several dozen young people who visited the Capitol this week to speak to lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle about their concerns about climate change, and what Florida’s elected leaders might do about it in Florida. It was part of a nationwide “Youth Lobby Day” organized by the environmental group Our Climate, a youth-led organization created to energize younger people about climate change.

Several studies published in recent years show that communities in the Sunshine State are among the most susceptible to climate change risk in the U.S. But the reality is that when it comes to the Florida Legislature this session, there’s not much going on to deter the effects of climate change. A proposal by Rep. Ben Diamond, a Democrat from St. Petersburg, would establish a comprehensive program and resiliency plan for the state to assess and prepare for climate change’s effects was introduced on the eve of the session. It’s not been heard in a single committee.

State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Miami-Dade County Democrat, introduced five climate change-related bills before the session. One of them, a proposal that calls for a sea level impact analysis for any new state-funded coastal construction projects, has passed two committees. But, its House companion, sponsored by Miami-Dade Democrat Javier Fernandez, has not been heard by any committee.

Sixteen-year-old Valholly Frank is one of eight teenagers in Florida suing state officials for endangering their future and failing to protect their constitutional rights to safe climate system. (Read previous Phoenix coverage of that lawsuit here.) “We’re the next generation who’s going to take care of this earth, and nobody right now is really taking a stand in their adult lives to help us. So if nobody is going to help us, we have to do it ourselves,” she said.



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