This past Wednesday, 23 April 2014 the Town of Surfside in Miami-Dade County, Florida hosted a most interesting event facilitated by The CLEO Institute, a local non-profit, to engage their own City officials and staff, and residents of the community in an effort to take a long and careful look at what global climate change means in terms of potential consequences for the town, and what is it that Surfside as a community and each one of us those who reside there as individuals can really do.
Preparing for and dealing with climate change in your community as the event was designated, was offered as a Professional Development Workshop for City Officials, Staff and the Community. The workshop took place on Wednesday 23 April 2014 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the new and beautiful facility that is the Surfside Community Center, 9301 Collins Avenue, Surfside, FL 33154.
With Town of Surfside Mayor Daniel Dietch, other town officials and staff members, including the director of public works, and 40+ residents in attendance, against the beautiful backdrop on sea grapes, the dune, the beach and the waters of the Atlantic ocean visible through the windows of the facility, and the traffic on Collins Avenue and buildings of this one-square-mile town on the other side, workshop moderator CLEO Institute’s Director Caroline Lewis summarized what science tells us about climate change, global warming, sea level rise and their expected consequences at the regional and local levels.
The workshop featured a panel of local experts/leaders who presented their views and facts on a wide and challenging array of relevant topics, capturing the audience’s attention, questions and commentary. The panel included: Mayor Cindy Lerner, Village of Pinecrest, Susanne Torriente, Assistant City Manager, City of Fort Lauderdale, and Vulnerability assessment and Mitigation expert and consultant Ricardo A. Alvarez (A STRATEGY FOR REGIONAL PROTECTION) a research affiliate at the Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Florida Atlantic University.
Congratulations to the Town of Surfside, its Mayor, elected officials and staff, must be congratulated for taking the initiative in engaging residents of its beautiful seaside community in Miami-Dade County in a critically needed and current dialogue about what is and will continue to be the most relevant issue confronting humankind. Let us trust that the example set by the Town of Surfside will soon be emulated by other proactive communities across Florida and the USA. Kudos also to the CLEO Institute, its Director Caroline Lewis and Program Manager Karina Castillo, for helping facilitate this particular event and for being a leader in these efforts for the benefit of our vulnerable communities.