Category Archives: Florida

Step Aside, It’s Our Turn to Fix What’s Wrong

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“I haven’t seen a movement like this, period,” Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, whose district includes Parkland, said last week after an estimated 1 million U.S. students walked out of class. “I think it can be a critical turning point in the politics of this country.”

Some say that the children that are speaking up and out are too young to voice their views, but I beg to differ.

My friends and I, my peers, youth all over the world are connected to one another, literally wired to one another, like has never been possible in all of history.

The only world we know is a wired one and within it we have a world of information, of answers, in our pockets. We’ve grown up accessing information and connecting with one another at the speed of light our entire lives. And when we have questions, or want something, you might have noticed that we are not particularly patient. And that’s especially true when it’s something that common sense tells us needs to get fixed. We are the most informed generation in history and we have the tools to make transformational change at our fingertips.

When our parents and grandparents fiddle with their own phones and tablets and computers to the point of frustration, it’s us, their children and grandchildren, that you turn to and ask us to fix whatever’s wrong. We are the fixers you’ve been turning to since we were young and we’ve not let you down yet.

And now the time has come for young people all over the world to fix the messes we see and sense all around us. Those problems that adults before us created or keep overlooking as they tolerate the pollution, murder, apathy and something, that for some reason they call a political ‘system’, that permeates our society.

“The power of the youth has been displayed,” said Minisee, the Youth EMPOWER organizer, “and we are going to be reckoned with.”

I am incredibly inspired by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students from Parkland, their strength, their will and their passion. We can agree that it’s unconscionable that you had to be placed in this position in the first place but you are well armed, yes armed, to change the world. And you are already making a breathtaking difference and are political forces setting an example for our generation to run over any and every one who stands in our way of fixing what’s broken here in the United States. I proudly stand with the MSD children and children all over our country and the world who demand sensible gun laws including a ban on automatic weapons and devices that turn ‘semi’ automatic into automatic machine guns. It’s just common sense to outlaw these weapons of war.

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Likewise, I am inspired by the young people all over America that comprise Our Children’s Trust, kids that are taking on our state and federal governments in court by suing them to demand that they protect our environment for future generations. The fact that we must wage such a legal fight is unfortunate but it’s a fight that we will gladly spend our lifetimes fighting so as to fix what’s broken. Carbon from fossil fuels has no place in our environment and eliminating it while fighting the global climate crisis is the biggest challenge that my generation will ever face but it is one we must and will overcome. Yes today’s youth will fix our climate crisis and we will not allow anyone to stand in our way.

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To consider how truly different things are today, how kids in my generation will not settle for ‘politics as usual’ I hope that you will please consider reading an excellent article by David Smiley entitled Youths Mobilize for Change After Parkland that can be found here.

Please also consider sitting down and having an ‘adult’ conversation with your children or grandchildren about their thoughts on gun violence, the need for an automatic weapons ban or the fact that we must stop pumping fossil fuel pollution into our oceans and atmosphere and shift to sustainable energy such as solar before it’s too late. You might be surprised by how engaged and enraged we are over the fact that these issues exist as well as how committed we are to fixing them.

And speaking of fixing things, please consider supporting your children and grandchildren by voting with them or, for those too young to vote, by voting for them, and for their future. I would hope that today’s adults will step up and set their bias aside by applying common sense to fixing things while they are still ‘in charge’ but in the event you choose not to help then I promise you that my generation will do it ourselves.

Don’t believe me?

Just watch how quickly we elect new leaders that truly support common sense solutions or how fast we move to enact the laws we need to fix what’s broken.

My connected, compassionate friends and I, are ready to fix things, and this time I’m not talking about helping you with installing your latest phone update. No, this time I am talking about fixing what’s wrong in our world. So either help us or step aside because our time, my generation’s time, has arrived.

iPrep Academy Kids ‘Get It’

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Even thought it’s summer, the last month and a half for me and The Sink or Swim Project have been very busy. A blur on most days really with so much to do it reminds me of a song from the play Hamilton, ‘writing like you’re running out of time’. In fact, as I type this blog entry I am sitting in the airport to head back to New York for an incredible project that I will be able to tell you about very soon.

But before I head back to the Big Apple, I just have to share with you one of the very best experiences I had at a school when I was fortunate to speak at iPrep Academy, a magnet school that focuses on teaching in a technology-rich environment., just before the end of the school year.

Based on the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few pictures from my wonderful visit at iPrep:

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As much as I hoped to inspire the iPrep Academy students during my visit, the truth is, as so often happens, these children inspired me.  Their passion and knowledge about climate change and sea level rise, about what is happening here to South Florida and what will happen in their (and my) lifetime was evident in their comments, questions and concerns.

The hope they gave me that day confirms that, together, our generation will solve our climate crisis.

So thank you Ms. Maria Thorne for having me at iPrep Academy and for leading a new generation of environmental stewards into the future to help fight climate change.

And thanks especially to your incredible students for their passion, as well as for giving me great hope that they will work with me to help solve our global climate crisis. As I always like to say, ‘Kids Get It’ and that was the case at iPrep Academy.

Why I’m Marching For Science On Earth Day

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I’m a teenager, a soon to be graduating high school senior but I am not yet old enough to vote. I am, however, a young woman that’s been raised to be humble and respectful but also strong enough to speak my mind and stand up for myself and my beliefs. I care deeply about equality, diversity and the environment but what I care the most about is the truth.

What I see and hear in important places like my state capital in Tallahassee or our nation’s capital in Washington makes me sad. And it makes me angry.

Florida’s Governor has essentially outlawed the use of phrases such as ‘global warming’, ‘climate change’ and ‘sea level rise’ by his Administration, yet science shows us that much of South Florida faces extinction from these things without intelligent action. And when it comes to what’s happening in Washington these past three months, how the truth is being assaulted and hidden so that special interests, antiquated behaviors and politics can be placed ahead of science, the environment, and our future is morally wrong.

Our government’s attempts to silence scientists and science is unacceptable and so when I learned about the March for Science that will take place on Earth Day, April 22nd in Washington, D. C. I immediately knew that we had to have our own march in support of science right here in Miami. Science is, after-all, the foundation upon which we will protect and save South Florida from the global climate change crisis and especially from sea level rise.

Marching together this Saturday allows us to celebrate scientists and the important work that they do for our society, work that’s all too often performed quietly and without fanfare. The time has come for us to march in support of facts and the scientists who discover them in labs all over our community and country.

And marching also allows us to thank science teachers for the incredible work they do in inspiring the next generation of scientists, inventors and problem solvers. Students, like myself, who have been inspired to pursue an education in the marine sciences.

Marching allows us to support children and our future. We must march for every little boy and girl that looks up at the night’s sky and becomes inspired to discover, to seek out the truth, to learn and to dream. Children studying STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, architecture, and math), should be embraced by their communities and our government because we represent a future where science and technology will matter more than ever before in the history of mankind.

So, if you love science I hope you will join us on Saturday. And if you are not in Miami then I hope you will join one of the nearly 500 satellite renewals all over the world or, for that matter, the one in D.C. Collectively we will all be marching for mankind’s quest to unravel the mysteries of our planet that is hidden in every atom and molecule.

And we will be marching to make our voices loudly heard and to make it clear that we want decisions related to our future to be based on science, facts, and especially the truth.

And, perhaps most importantly, we will be marching to make clear that science must always trump politics.

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