Just a few days prior to Earth Day 2018 this past week, eight Floridians under the age of 19 filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott and the State of Florida. The plaintiffs, who range in age from 9 to 20, claim that the state of Florida has shown “a deliberate indifference to their fundamental rights to a stable climate system in violation of Florida common law and the Florida Constitution.” For more on the lawsuit, link here.
Once again, our youth are helping draw attention to critical issues that need action. In our state, the environment is undoubtedly one of our greatest assets. It’s the reason so many of us love our life here and the reason our economy flourishes as warm temperatures, beaches and year-round outdoor activities draw millions of visitors to Florida each year.
But, given aggressive development combined with – and resulting – in climate change, the stewardship of this jewel is in peril under the direction of Florida Republicans. Rick Scott has reportedly prohibited staff from using the words “climate change,” “global warming” and “sustainability” and, according to Politifact, has fallen short or failed to deliver on many of his environmental promises. Given that it’s estimated that even 56% of Republicans in South Florida agree that climate change is indeed happening, Scott’s position is even more concerning than the rising waters in our communities. And all the more reason to, as the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida says, to “think green, vote blue”.