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Local and State Leaders planning to organize around climate change

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For the first time, local leaders from across the region are joining in on an effort to plan for climate change. The East Central Florida Regional Resilience Collaborative is the third in the state and the nineteenth in the nation. WMFE’s environmental reporter Amy Green joined Matthew Peddie on Intersection to talk more about environmental efforts from all over the region.

The collaboration is led by the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council and “is aimed at organizing and leveraging local resources around a global issue.”

So far for the newly formed Collaborative, it is composed of two leadership committees made up of city and county leaders, emergency management leaders,  environmentalists and academics from across the region.

Around the state and region, concerns have risen over the environment and climate change. In New Smyrna Beach, several community meetings were held after Hurricane Irma.

Clay Henderson of Stetson University’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, lives in New Smyrna Beach. He said waters from the Indian River rose and flooded areas that had not experienced flooding before.

“For the first time, people in Smyrna realized ‘something’s going on here. We have to do something about this.’

Since then, New Smyrna Beach placed and passed a measure on a local ballot to borrow up to 15 million dollars to address growth management issues and conserve sensitive lands.

On the state level, Governor Ron DeSantis says he plans to hire to coordinate a statewide response to climate change. It remains to be seen how that organization would collaborate with local efforts. Some hope that there is strength in numbers.

Dan Kreeger of the Association of Climate Change Officers says points out that local organizations can respond quicker in some situations, like natural disaster.

“Where the state can’t really deploy the kinds of resources to help in a particular part of the state, the collaborative can come together to supplement that. It can also be a leader and help the state as it stands up, in some of the areas where such an effort doesn’t exist. This is a really substantial challenge that’s going to require all hands on deck, and not just looking upward. Even with a state moving in this direction, leadership is going to be needed at all levels.” Kreeger said.

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