Allapattah Leader's Listening Session
A total of 25 community leaders were invited for a listening session on climate change. Attendants were from a wide variety of backgrounds. A total of 17 attended, including the Allapattah police Commander, the NET office Administrator, an urban planner, an assistant principal, a high school ecology teacher, two librarians and two library assistants, a community outreach representative from the State Attorney’s Office, a representative from a local urban garden, two college students specializing in medicine and communication, and four climate change organizers. Before a brief presentation on climate change, CLEO gauged the level of climate change literacy of the participants, which varied from 2 – 7 out of 10. Following the presentation, the meeting continued with introductions of each attendee, and what they saw as the biggest issues of climate change in the context of their field of work and in the Allapattah community.
We need to:
· Make climate change awareness relevant to the community in a way that connects with that community’s needs and priorities. It must be relevant if we want them to come to the table. Discussing direct impacts and predictions rather than focusing too heavily on the science behind climate change.
· Empower youth, especially the ones who are not thriving in the regular school system, with post-secondary green opportunities and job interests; we must frame the climate change fight in a way that empowers them.
· Help people rethink how they view climate change. It is often thought of on a global level. But if framed on a local level, it might be easier for people to start making necessary, yet achievable, changes to make a difference.
· Need to spread the word in a non-threatening way but with a sense of urgency and encourage community leaders and community members to get involved by becoming a part of CLEO’s speaker’s network.
· Get more politicians involved, especially those who admit climate change is real.
· Get residents more connected with their communities and empowered to elect climate-friendly officials.
· Find “community champions”, to help the Ecodistricts framework come to life and have local government support these initiatives with funding.
· Ensure that information is disseminated in a way that reaches all members of the community to ensure that everyone is equally/well-informed on critical issues related to climate change.
· Share more data and statistics on how climate change is predicted to impact crime and public safety, as it would be useful for law enforcement and related agencies to help inform their community work.
The more informed you are, the better you can advocate in your own interest.