Hialeah Listening Session

This listening session was led by CLEO as well as two community organizers and partners, Salome Garcia and David Riera. The idea was to start a conversation around 4 climate change topics: heat and health, climate, flooding and emergency preparedness.The following summarizes the discussion which highlighted concerns, suggestions, and a clear desire by the participants to know more. 

Under Heat and Health,the main issues brought up were: 

·      Increase in frequency of vector-borne diseases like Zika, malaria. 

·      Increase in health problems such as asthma, blood pressure etc. 

·      Increase risk to the health of agricultural workers, children and biodiversity

·      Poor tree canopy in Hialeah, exacerbates heat by reducing the amount of shade; and there are cultural implications, helping people to understandi the importance of trees vs concrete gardens.   

Under Climate,the main issues brought up were: 

·      Frequency in rainfall is changing

·      Flooding and problems with infrastructure such as drainage systems

·      Destruction of the Everglades, pushing of the urban development line

·      Climate gentrification

Under Emergency Preparedness, the main issues brought up were: 

·       What to do with our animals and pets in the event of an extreme weather event

·       Need for more public campaigns to educate people on how to be prepared

·       During storm preparation and panic, how do we regulate how much people can buy in order to allow all families to obtain what they need. 

·       Communication materials must be in Spanish

·       Education around the use of solar items vs battery-run items

·       Having more workshops for seniors. 

UnderFlooding, the main issues discussed were:

·       Education campaigns around the dangers of flood waters

·       The inability to drive when water gets too high. People are stuck. 

·       Understanding when to evacuate or not

·       We should encourage children to be advocates and share with their families

·       Families are busy. Educational videos vs written materials would be very helpful

The listening session was successful in that it highlighted that Hialeah’s community’s is very interested in learning more about climate issues, and definitely see a need for improvement on topics that are directly linked to climate change impacts. There is a drive to be more involved in their community and to help improve education and resilience within the community. All those present expressed interested in knowing more and participating in the next climate workshop, as well as partnering with CLEO to expand efforts in Hialeah. Hialeah is a large city, and there is clearly a gap to be filled when it comes to bringing this conversation to the forefront. An interesting suggestion was that CLEO try and partner with other organizations already active in the community to bring these issues to a broader audience.