It’s our turn. It’s up to you and I, the youth of the world. Young people globally are going to have to do what adults before us have failed to do: solve our climate change crisis. And today I am pleased to share a way that young Floridians can use their voice to lead the way in demanding the type of change that we need to foster right here in Florida.
Young people all over the world frequently ask me “what can I do?” about our climate crisis and I am pleased to share a simple step that you can take today to make a positive, important difference.
As part of my ongoing efforts to get the state of Florida to begin addressing the core cause of our climate crisis, the use of fossil fuels, I’ve learned that in 2006 the Florida Legislature created a law that mandated an increase in the use of renewable energy and a reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels for electricity production. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I have also learned that in all years (15 and counting) the state and its agencies have done little to nothing to comply and that’s something I’d like to see change so that we can begin the transition to renewable energy, and away from fossil fuels, that forward thinking state lawmakers intended nearly two decades ago.
With this in mind some friends and I are trying to motivate our state to begin to follow the 2006 law by presenting something called a Petition for Rulemaking to formally ask Commissioner Fried to commence the process to lead us to sustainability. If she elects to support the Petition, that step will show she’s serious about addressing our climate crisis. And if she does not commence the rule making process she’ll prove that her frequent comments about our climate are meaningless and that she cares more about protecting the established polluters than protecting our future.
Here in Florida the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS), whose role in our government is to “promote Florida agriculture, protect the environment, safeguard consumers, and ensure the safety and wholesomeness of food.” Unfortunately for our climate, Florida’s government is not protecting our environment by curbing our fossil fuel use and carbon emissions – the cause of our climate change crisis. We need to change that and you can help by joining our petition.
With these things in mind I am pleased to announce our Florida youth led petition for rulemaking that demands that the FDCAS establish a goal to generate 100% of Florida’s electricity from renewable energy by 2050 and the steps to get us there. In doing so, the State of Florida and its government will be required under this rule to begin to plan and execute ways in which to accomplish that. You can find the petition by clicking here and I hope that Florida youth under the age of 25 will both sign it today and share it with all of your friends on social media. The more youth that voice their concern the better.
As you consider joining our youth led petition, here are some unfortunate facts to consider as motivation:
(1) Florida is ground zero for climate change. The climate crisis is already having devastating impacts on Florida: rising sea levels and resultant flooding, beach erosion and damage to coastal property, extreme damage to marine ecosystems, spread of infectious diseases, and increased severity of storms and extreme weather events. Florida’s tourism, agriculture, and recreation industries are all suffering.
(2) Florida is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the U.S. Florida’s state government has known for decades of the dangers of climate change but has done little to protect its youngest citizens by taking aggressive action to avert the crisis.
(3) Only 4.3% of Florida’s electricity comes from renewable sources, while natural gas makes up 75% of Florida’s electricity system. Even though the Florida legislature has mandated an increase in the use of renewable energy and a reduction in the state’s dependence on fossil fuels, Florida’s electricity system is still dominated by fossil fuels.
(4) According to Evolved Energy Research, it is economically and technically feasible to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050. Transitioning to renewable energy would create 222,082 construction jobs and 90,727 operation jobs, reduce energy costs and save lives. State government should not be standing in the way of a new energy future for Florida!
Allow me to end by thanking a few of my friends from all over Florida that are joining me in signing this petition and fighting for our planet and generation’s future. Thanks to Levi, Valholly, and Issac, who were part of the historic group of eight brave young Floridians that sued the State of Florida, Florida’s Governor, and Cabinet in the case Reynolds v. State of Florida to demand that our state enforce the laws that cut back and eliminate our state’s carbon emissions. Thanks as well to the exceptional people at Our Children’s Trust, the youth-focused environmental law firm that helped us with our case and that are leading the federal constitutional climate case, Juliana v. United States. Demanding change within a culture where politics so often protects the polluters is hard and to my young friends and the folks at OCT, thank you again and again.
And to the youth of Florida, NOW is the time for you to get involved. Please sign the petition TODAY and share it with every single person you know on social media. Our future is in our hands and whether you are old enough to vote or not you can make a difference right NOW.
Adults have long failed us by putting politics and profits ahead of our planet. Our climate and too many of the natural places we cherish are at dire risk. I know you know this, and I know you agree, so it’s up to you and I to solve our climate crisis. I most sincerely hope that you will join my friends and I in demanding that our government take action today.