(ST. PETERSBURG, FL – July 12, 2021) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today released the first video in a four-part series entitled “Keeping Florida, Florida” to showcase the urgency of Florida’s climate crisis and the opportunity state and federal leaders have to build long-term resilience for the state’s communities, economy and ecosystems. EDF will release the series in four installments, each featuring different regions of the state and unique perspectives from local leaders discussing on-the-ground climate impacts and highlighting solutions that address these risks.
The first video highlights the risk sea level rise presents to Miami-Dade County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed Back Bay Study, which would rely on traditional, hardened infrastructure, including a seawall, to protect the region. Experts featured in the video, along with many others across the state, raise concerns that this approach will not adequately address flood risk while detrimentally impacting the region’s environment, economy and culture. Instead, these experts are proposing natural and nature-based solutions, such as oyster reefs and mangroves, that can build long-term flood resilience while “keeping Florida Florida.”
“Hundreds of billions of dollars in assets are at risk from climate change in Florida, and sea level rise is already impacting people’s lives,” said Dawn Shirreffs, Environmental Defense Fund’s Florida director. “The Army Corps’ project proposed for Miami-Dade outlines the challenges in balancing flood protection, protecting natural assets and preserving community character. The good news is we can address flood risk and safeguard our environment and economy if we have the political will to innovate.”
Local residents, businesses and environmental organizations agree that taking a blended approach is critical to safeguarding our ecosystems, the character of our unique coastlines and the economies that rely on them.
“We can make Miami an example for the rest of the country of how to do these projects, how to react to sea level rise and make our communities more resilient, while also improving the environment, our way of life and our economy,” said Rachel Silverstein, executive director and waterkeeper, Miami Waterkeeper.
Future videos in the series will feature related issues and people from Collier County, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.
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