Category Archives: Miami Eco Warrior

Righteousness or Reality?

Righteousness

Just when I thought I’d heard everything possible from the Trump Administration’s attack on our environment, including doing all they could possibly dream up to deny that man’s use of fossil fuels to power our cars and utilities and lives contributes to our planet’s climate crisis, comes this headline:

Energy chief Rick Perry says fossil fuels can prevent sexual assault

Wait.

What?

It will not surprise anyone that Perry, the former Governor of Texas and 2016 Presidential Candidate who is now President Trumps Energy Secretary, is a loyalist to fossil fuels given that his home state is filled with the stuff and that most of America’s biggest oil companies are based there. But now it appears that we’ve learned he is not only deeply biased but perhaps delusional too.

At an event sponsored by Axios and NBC News Perry explained that on a recent trip to Africa a girl there told him that electricity was important to her because she wanted to avoid using a lamp that produces noxious fumes to read at night, to study. He then went on in the interview to say:

“electricity also was important from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts.”

When I read the word righteousness I immediately think of its use in the context of religion or morality. To hear the United States Energy Secretary, a member of the President’s Cabinet, use it to tout the use of fossil fuels or to seemingly suggest that fossil fuels serve a righteous purpose is alarming. Could he be trying to suggest that God supports the use of fossil fuels? Or that the distribution and use of fossil fuels hold some moral purpose? You can decide for yourself by reading the article that caught my attention here but such a statement is troubling on any level (sickening really) and to read his comments that there is a link, or what he called a ‘positive role’, between fossil fuels and preventing sexual assault, is deeply disturbing. 

REAL NEWS FLASH To Secretary PerryElectricity is generated all over the world by all sorts of power sources other than fossil fuels including clean, sustainable sources such as the sun (solar), water (hydro) and wind.

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I’ve been to Africa but I’ve not yet been to India. Thankfully former late night TV host and comedian David Letterman traveled to India as a Correspondent for the Season Two Premier of National Geographic’s Years of Living Dangerously entitled ‘A Race Against Time’ where he reported finding children studying at night by noxious kerosene burning lamps. He also reported that some 300 Million people in India (nearly the equivalent of the entire population of the United States) have no electricity of any type and that solar power is being used to provide electricity to change their lives for the better.

If you’ve not seen Years of Living Dangerously, a show that’s been called ‘must watch television’, then click here and start with David’s excellent episode and while you’re at it catch the episode entitled Saving Miami to learn about Miami’s plight.

Reality

I believe that our planet’s climate change crisis is the most significant issue that my generation will ever face. Of that I am certain and while I don’t know Jeff Dorian I sure do agree with what he wrote in a Letter to the Editor in the November 2nd edition of the Miami Herald and want to share it as a dose of reality.

DENYING REALITY

I smoked cigarettes for 30-plus years. I ignored the warnings — liked them too much; kept thinking they wouldn’t affect me. The odds were in my favor. There is no family history of cancer, and my diet and exercise regimes were excellent.

Then came the heart attack.

I quit smoking, but the damage was done: irreversible loss of functioning capacity. If only I’d quit sooner, surely my health would be much better today.

All of us face a similar dilemma today. We must give up fossil fuels. Most Americans don’t think carbon emissions will affect them. The threat seems unsure and far in the future. We enjoy cheap fuel and fast cars too much. We don’t know how to give them up.

The warnings, again from scientists, again are clear and easy to understand. The deniers in Congress are once again denying and supporting business interests over protecting the public interest.

Once again, the damage is irreversible. My heart is not going to get stronger, and the ocean is not going to recede. People are now dying from effects of carbon emissions and associated climate change.

The solution, though not easy, is exquisitely simple: Just Google carbon fee.

– Jeff Dorian, Plantation

The debate on whether man has impacted our climate is long over97% of all scientists agree that that’s exactly what has happened and that carbon in our atmosphere has never been higher and that earth’s temperatures have, in 137 years of recorded data, never been hotter. And if we set politics, and ridiculous statements such as what Secretary Perry said last week aside, even the Trump’s Administration knows the truth and just published it on Friday November 3rd in America’s annual National Climate Assessment.

Hundreds of experts from 13 agencies in our federal government and the academic world researched and wrote the report which was then peer-reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences. You can find the report here and once you’ve read it, or read one of the many articles published about it in recent days like this one, we should all ask ourselves whether we, as citizens of this planet, will continue to allow politicians and their puppets to lie to us, to disrespect us, or do we decide to elect leaders who are serious about solving this well documented problem?

IF the Trump Administration’s goal is to truly do what’s righteous for our country’s future then allow me to suggest that the President announce that the United States will quickly become the world’s leading manufacturer of solar panels and that America will install solar power any and everywhere in our Country as well as in places such as Africa and, for that matter, India too. Make it our generation’s ‘trip to the moon’ as President Kennedy did in the early 1960’s when he made sending men to explore the moon our national focus. The reality is that such an inspirational initiative would create millions of jobs while changing people’s lives and our environment for the better at the same time.

Now that is a reality that I can support and one that would be truly filled with righteousness.

2,000,000 +

Last week I experienced what people really mean when they say that their phone ‘blew up’ and I am pleased to say that it doing so was because of concern for our environment and especially for our climate crisis and sea rise concerns.

MTV had asked me to take over their Snapchat for a day in advance of the Town Hall I’d filmed for them with VP Al Gore, Steve Aoki, Fat Joe and Gabby Wilson. My young readers know this already but for those of you who have never used Snapchat, then I am here to tell you that it is a very big deal to millennials. How big a deal?

Well, during the day that I told my ‘story’ (that’s what it’s called in Snapchat language), the videos and pictures that I posted were viewed over 2,000,000 times. I still can’t believe it and actually stopped counting at 2,016,000 but the fact that many young people watched what I posted is great news and encourages me (yet again) to believe that today’s youth are serious about solving our climate crisis.

And what did I post in my ‘story’? Well you can watch the entire story by clicking on it below but they were not the typical funny cat videos or other silly internet oriented humor that dominates Snapchat. Some of the posts promoted the show An Inconvenient Special but most talked about what is happening all over South Florida including in Miami, Miami Beach and the Florida Keys. Here is the story (it’s limited to 10 second per video so the entire thing is just two minutes long).

And to watch MTV’s recent Town Hall, An Inconvenient Special, with me, VP Gore, Steve Aoki, Fat Joe and Gabby Wilson please just click the video below.

Brianna

So what does the more than 2,000,000 views suggest to me? Well the number of views combined with the number of people who emailed or texted me during and since (that’s the part where my phone ‘blew up’) suggests strongly that today’s youth are truly concerned about our warming climate and the crisis that is growing by the day as well as that they want solutions.

And they not only want to get involved, they know that they need to be involved. How do I know this? Well consider the first of several emails I’ve received from my new friend Brianna in New Jersey who wrote:

Hi Delaney,

Hi, my name’s Brianna, and I recently stumbled across an article on MTV’s Snapchat story about climate change and your efforts in stopping it. It was really interesting, so I did more research on your endeavors and found your website.

The fact that a teenage girl like myself could make such an impact was really, really inspiring to me. I just wanted to ask, how did you get started on all of this? For instance, how does one even begin writing and publishing a book, or make a significant difference in/bring awareness to climate change in a community?

I’ve always wanted to make accomplishments like this, and make a difference in the things I believe in, but I often get overwhelmed and never knew how to get started. I apologize for the vagueness of this request, but could you please help me?

Thank you so much for your time. Your achievements and efforts are extremely admirable, and the world is a better place with active fighters like you in it. Keep up the good work! I hope to be like you one day.

-Brianna

Brianna, the truth is that you inspire me.

And the other truth is that we are exactly like one another already in our concerns and desire to fix what’s badly broken. Your concerns and sentiments and all else are examples of why I work so hard to educate and engage young people over our planet’s climate crisis and to create positive changes to help solve the problem. So to you and everyone else who wrote or texted or commented, even those that were negative, thank you for being engaged in the conversation.

‘Rain Bombs’

And speaking of my recent Snapchat Story I want to end by sharing how truly timely it and MTV’s An Inconvenient Special and especially VP Gore’s new movie, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, is here in South Florida. In the new movie VP Gore explains that our warming climate is experiencing more and more extreme weather including what he called ‘rain bombs’. He talked about how the climate crisis is creating conditions for more severe storms and within them torrential rains that drop an unprecedented amount of water, a ‘rain bomb’, in one place or another.

And his use of the term, and my learning of it from him, is certainly topical based on what happened just the day before I filmed my Snapchat Story for MTV when South Florida was ‘attacked’ by a ‘rain bomb’ that crippled much of our region by dumping an unusually large amount of rain on top of our elevated sea levels to create flooding that crippled many areas. That flooding from ever increasingly severe weather, including ‘rain bombs’ on top of the growing water levels all around us is yet another example of the future South Florida faces in a world of rapidly rising sea levels.

And if a region can be crippled by a severe rain storm as reported by the Miami Herald (click here to read Cleanup But Few Closures The Day After Floodwaters Soaked Cities) consider what will happen when a large hurricane slowly passes our region and drops an unimaginable volume of water on top of our already elevated sea levels.

And then, just for ‘fun’, consider what will happen when these type events happen in the years to come when the sea level all around us and the waters under our porous limestone geology are much higher than they are today. Or when they have become so high on their own that they impact our daily lives every day, even without a rain storm or hurricane. That’s the future of South Florida and countless places all over America and the World unless we get serious, seriously soon, and end our use of fossil fuels and stop emitting the carbon pollution that’s causing this crisis.

So whether or not you watch MTV or use Snapchat, I need your help. The good news is that I know that millions of young people share my concerns and that those 2,000,000+ views just scratch the surface of how young people all over our planet feel. I know that I speak for them when I say to those adults in charge today, political ‘leaders’, businesses executives and others that it is time we all get serious and get started solving the problem.

The Solar City of South Miami

Let the sunshine,
let the sun shine in,
the sun shine in

Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In

By 5th Dimension

Something spectacular and very important happened last week at the City of South Miami’s May commission meeting and we all owe Mayor Stoddard and the visionary commission a debt of gratitude for helping lead Florida into a sustainable future.

Early last year I learned that the City of San Francisco had become the third municipality in California to enact an Ordinance requiring solar power to be installed in new construction, as well as significant renovations. San Francisco’s law (click here for a copy of their Ordinance) intrigued me and led me to write several local mayors a letter requesting that they consider implementing a similar law in their municipality. An example of one such letter, in this case to the Village of Palmetto Bay, following a lecture that I gave to a business group there at which its mayor was in attendance, is displayed below.

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I’m happy to report that Mayor Stoddard eagerly responded. As a first step he asked me to find everything possible related to the cities in California that had a similar law and promised that we would work together to draft our own version for his city.

Our first meeting lasted nearly six hours, but it also laid the foundation of the Ordinance the South Miami City Commission passed with a 5-0 vote upon its first reading last week (Click here for the draft of the ordinance). Such a law holds the promise of having South Miami lead the State of Florida into our sustainable future and turning the Sunshine State into my dream that we one day become THE Solar State. I attended the South Miami Commission meeting and during the Public Comments portion of the meeting spoke in favor of the Ordinance and the benefits of solar power. You can watch my presentation in the video below:

Later in the evening when it was time for the commission to discuss and debate the Ordinance, Mayor Stoddard explained its history and the work that we had done together over the past year. To watch Mayor Stoddard discuss the Ordinance, as well as to see what just might turn out to be a historic vote, press play below:

Experts predict that 50% of Florida’s energy can be derived from solar power by the year 2045 if our State begins to get serious about this clean, abundant energy source. Sadly, Florida ranks 14th in the amount of energy we produce from solar power, but the good news is we rank 3rd in our potential to generate power from the sun.

At a time that our State and Country should be dramatically increasing its sustainable use such as solar power, these rankings are a bit discouraging, but not surprising. They are not surprising here in South Florida when one considers that after 92 years of being in business, our local energy monopoly, Florida Power & Light, derives less than 1% of its energy from solar power. Lately FP&L seems to enjoy touting its “dedication to solar power” in its advertising, but facts are facts and their own annual report concludes solar power produces less than 1% of the energy that they generate. Simply stated, FP&L is not committed to sustainable power.

I believe that the time has come to change things. 92 years is far too long to do so little and I think that the days where everyone must obtain their power from one source, from a monopoly, should soon come to an end. A reliance on fossil fuels and of old technologies is destroying our planet and that 1% figure screams that these established businesses are all too happy with the way things are.

When it comes to solar, there is lots of good news and it’s not just in South Miami. At a time when electricity prices are on the rise and our local power company (FP&L) has charged its customers nearly 300 million dollars for a nuclear power facility that may never be built or be many decades off into the future, the cost of solar power has dropped significantly as the chart below illustrates.

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The cost of solar power has decreased over 99% since 1977 and is today the least expensive source of energy in America. Now, all we have to do is implement solar power everywhere and let the sun do the rest.

South Miami is certainly doing its part and that process is to continue next with a review of the Ordinance by the Planning Board, followed by a second reading of the proposed new law by the City Commission later this summer, where they will have the opportunity to make history in Florida and in the United States.

Thanks to Mayor Stoddard and the entire City Commission for their leadership. I also want to thank the City Manager, as well as the City Attorney for their hard work in helping polish our earlier draft, as well as my dreams.

Let me end today’s blog with a challenge. If you have read what we are doing in the City of South Miami, then I want to encourage you, challenge you, to work in your own community to create a similar law. Our country faces many challenges in evolving from a fossil fuel economy to a sustainable one but, if we are to ever make that transition, I believe the solutions will most certainly begin in our local communities, including yours. Within this blog, you have the tools that you need including samples of the existing laws, the newly proposed one, even the letter that I wrote that started it all.

So, I implore you to approach your own local leaders and ask them to help you change the world for the better.

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