Dear Governor-Elect DeSantis:
Climate change is an existential threat to Florida. Residents and tourists are seeing the effects that warmer water and increased rainfall have on our state - the unprecedented harmful algae blooms and red tide outbreaks of the past year have devastated local economies. Meteorologists were astonished as they watched Michael - a tropical storm - grow into a major hurricane in just two days. While climate change does not cause these problems, it makes them worse because both hurricanes and algae are fueled by warmer water.
The images of green slime coating our waterways and dead animals washing up on our beaches have tarnished Florida’s international reputation. The economic and ecological consequences of this year’s harmful toxic algae blooms and hurricane activity will be long-lasting.
As Florida’s next Governor, you must take meaningful action to protect our state. Otherwise, climate change-related disasters like these will become a recurring problem on our coasts. The people of Florida demand better leadership, and smarter management of our natural resources.
There is no time to lose; upon assuming the Office of the Governor we urge you to:
- Acknowledge climate change as the serious threat that it is and foster a transition to clean renewable energy sources that reduce Florida’s dependence on fossil fuels.
- Implement meaningful monitoring, protection, and preservation of our waterways. Appoint scientists - not industry insiders - to water protection boards. Preserve, protect, and increase wetlands, which serve as a natural buffer for storms, and a filter to improve water quality.
- Make polluters pay to clean up their own mess.
- Create a Florida Future Fund to support resilent infrastructure investments, and to protect those who are the most vulnerable.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently published a report warning that action is required within the next 12 years in order to prevent total chaos. We need real leadership and action in the Capitol. You have the potential to correct course and make Florida a clean energy leader, and to create a legacy as the Governor who saved our state. We are watching you and waiting.