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Floridians Join National Day of Action for Climate Change

Floridians are joining a national day of action for climate change. Credit: Mariama Gregory
Floridians are joining a national day of action for climate change. Credit: Mariama Gregory
October 14, 2015

MIAMI - As global leaders prepare for historic climate talks, Floridians are joining in a national movement today to call for real action on climate change.

Marcos Vilar, regional director for New Florida Majority, is among the organizers of the People's Climate March in Miami, one of more than 100 events taking place nationwide. Given Florida's abundant coastline and reliance on water, Vilar said, climate change and the associated sea-level rise leave the entire state, and its large cities in particular, vulnerable to economic failure.

"According to the World Bank, Miami is number one in the entire world in terms of economic assets that could be jeopardized in a climate disaster," he said. "It's also seventh in the world in terms of total population affected."

The People's Climate March begins at 5 p-m at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center.

Next month, world leaders will gather in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which aims to achieve a binding and universal agreement on climate from all participating nations. A similar effort at the 2009 Copenhagen talks failed to produce an agreement.

Numerous studies have found that climate change disproportionately impacts low-income communities, and Vilar maintained that investing in long-term changes will make not just those populations but the entire state stronger.

"By rebuilding our city and rebuilding our infrastructure," he said, "we're going to be able to create a lot of construction and a lot of jobs and a lot of new businesses that'll cater to the whole process of rebuilding in a way that is sustainable."

While critics say the state can't afford massive infrastructure overhaul, Vilar argued that the cost of inaction is far greater. Some estimates put the cost of damage from sea-level rise in South Florida at $33 billion by 2030.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL