By Josephine Fuller, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact is bringing its 11th annual Regional Climate Leadership Summit to Key West, from December 3rd to the 5th. The Compact has been a driving force in the state in responding to climate change and sea level rise issues.
Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties all participate in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact summit. The South Florida Water Management District, the Nature Conservancy Florida Chapter and the South Florida Regional Planning Council are all partners of the compact as well.
The theme for this year’s event is “Bridging the Gap”, which reflects the compact’s efforts to bridge the gap between climate change and sea level rise issues and resiliency across the region. Roman Gastesi, county administrator from Monroe county, will act as the master of ceremonies.
“The Summit will not only highlight regional progress in climate leadership but also facilitate conversations about initiatives crucial to ensure our region’s future resilience,” Gastesi said in a press release.
The summit allows for people to share knowledge and contribute to the region’s community of practice on climate action. Talking points will include a municipal showcase of resilience, protecting coral reefs, and building resilience after natural disasters.
Some main issues the compact hopes to tackle are sea levels rising 6-10 inches by 2030, saltwater infiltration of drinking water supply, vulnerable coastal communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems, population growth & expanding development and creating cohesion between the multiple municipalities in the area.
Each year the counties take turns hosting the summit, last year it was hosted on Miami Beach. This year speakers include Susanne Torriente, assistant city manager and chief resilience officer of the City of Miami Beach, and James Murely, Chief Resilience Officer of Miami-Dade County.
By bringing together so many people from different counties, the Compact allows for a reflection of several different problems and possible solutions. The area of Southeast Florida generates more than a third of the state’s economic activity. Therefore, the Compact sees that it is necessary to tackle problems that might damage that in the future.
After last year’s summit, Noah Valenstein, secretary of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protect, said that the southeast region of Florida is setting an example through collaboration to show how others can tackle similar issues.
“Whether you’re working on sea-level rise, climate change, water quality, protecting lands — it is all interrelated,” Valenstein said. “It really comes back to seeing progress from partnerships.”
The Climate Compact has been intact since 2009,and since then, organizers say the four counties involved have continuously worked together to form mitigation and adaption strategies for years to come.
The summit will be held at the Casa Marina Resort, located at 1500 Reynolds Street, Key West. Tickets are sold out.