Aaron Sanchez-Guerra, WLRN, July 31, 2019

The City of Miami wants to hear from residents about their concerns over South Florida’s vulnerability to climate change.

The Office of Resilience and Sustainability launched a series of community discussions and workshops in Coconut Grove Monday night, called Climate Ready Miami. The meetings will go through September and then the city will then develop initiatives and strategies to respond to concerns.

“We’re going to synthesize all the information we gather here today,” said Jane Gilbert, the city’s Chief Resilience Officer, who led the discussion. “We’re going to get neighborhood-specific priorities but also bubble up what should be citywide-level priorities.”

The Climate Ready Miami draft plan will involve various city departments such as public works, city planning and zoning, emergency management and housing.

“This will become part of the city’s strategic plan for resilience and all departments within the city will have to perform their measures related to that,” Gilbert added.

Monday’s gathering included a portion during which residents were split into groups where they discussed four questions: the general challenges of climate change in Miami, sea level rise, rising temperatures and hurricanes.

Residents expressed concern over a decrease in the tree canopy from development, high heat disproportionately affecting low-income residents and a lack of communication for storm preparedness. They also said they were worried about storm surges affecting the coast and increasing levels of groundwater affecting septic tanks.

The meetings will take place throughout August and conclude September 23. A tentative schedule is available on the Climate Ready Miami website. Gilbert said findings from the meetings will be compiled by October as part of the plan.

Clarice Cooper, a lifetime resident of West Coconut Grove, attended the workshop and has been part of the Community Emergency Response Team assisting in emergency preparedness for five years.

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