Leadership on Climate in Action

climate change effects

Life on Earth is already beginning to alter due to climate change. Seasons are changing, temperatures are rising, and sea levels are rising worldwide.

Global sea levels have risen by around 8 inches since 1880 due to climate change, and a recent study shows that sea levels have increased at a rate of 0.14 inches per year since the 1990s. One of the main effects of climate change on our coastal towns and communities is more frequent storms that might cause substantial damage to our growing infrastructure. Sea level rise significantly increases the risk of floods for coastal cities.

Developing Resistance

Climate resilience refers to a system’s capacity to withstand the stresses brought on by climate change and continue functioning while adapting and becoming better equipped to cope with further climate impacts.

The tenth annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit took place in front of a crowd of more than 700 industry, government, NGO, and academic climate thought leaders close to the front lines of sea level rise and climate change consequences along Miami’s well-known beaches.

Rod Braun, climate program manager and summit participant said: “The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has announced the funding of two coastal resilience demonstration projects in Miami that we helped to coordinate.” It’s an excellent illustration of numerous organizations working together to advance nature-centered programs, according to Braun.

The Summit proved that combating climate change has a strong business rationale and is sensible from an economic standpoint. Local and regional support for climate efforts is picking up steam. Following the Southeast Florida Climate Compact’s lead, several areas of Florida are starting to put similar initiatives specific to their communities into action. Climate alliances and compacts are now being created for Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay counties. As more of Florida invests in adaptation and mitigation techniques, collective efforts to combat climate change will gain strength.

With more frequent and stronger storms, higher roads to prevent floods, and a decrease in carbon emissions, controlling threats to urban centers is a priority as the Conservancy, and other climate leaders actively seek to build resiliency to current and future impacts. Supporting increased solar energy, promoting green infrastructure—trees and rooftops—and advocating for affordable housing to cut down on long commutes are all on the agenda.

Climate Action Based on Religion

All of us are affected by climate change, regardless of our political affiliations, geographic region, or religious beliefs. Faith-based communities are particularly positioned to address climate change’s difficulties through teaching and action since they have a global presence and their messages are shared across languages. Pope Francis addressed climate change as a moral issue in his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home” and urged “a new dialogue about how we are creating the future of our planet.” Since the environmental crisis we are facing and its human roots concern and touch us all, we need a discourse that involves everyone. Jewish teachings place a similar emphasis on conserving the environment and natural resources for future generations. Muslims believe that humanity is the Earth’s custodian, and the Quran encourages us to consider the environmental effects of our actions.

The two-day forum featured speakers, panel discussions, and audience interaction from members of many different faiths and reputable organizations. The presenters and panelists’ pragmatic, enthused, and motivating remarks concentrated on the various ways that the current warming climate affects our community, the significance of protecting the Earth from the perspective of multiple faiths, and initiatives being carried out in South Florida and elsewhere to engage the community in climate change action.

Participants included local officials, a Vatican expert on water and climate, the Archbishop of Miami, the Special Advisor on Climate Justice of the United Church of Christ, the senior Rabbi of Temple Solel, an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church, and numerous other religious leaders. Climate experts from the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, the University of Miami’s Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and Florida International University also attended. The seminar was directed by Reverend Alfred Cioffi, a professor of biology and bioethics at St. Thomas University.

Through mission work, religious leaders already educate their flock and interact with the larger community. Examples of this work include:

  • Installing solar panels on churches and temples.
  • Setting up community carbon funds to finance clean energy.
  • Helping those displaced by floods and hurricanes.

The conference offered a chance to consider new ways to include faith-based communities in climate solutions and mitigate its effects.