The Listening Session: March 8, 2018

  • A total of 25 community leaders were invited for a listening session on climate change. Attendants were from a wide variety of backgrounds.  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.

The Climate Training: March 22, 2018

  • After learning the communities concerns at the listening session, CLEO hosted a community climate workshop at the Allapattah Branch Library as part of the Creating Climate Connections outreach program. The core concerns identified at the listening session were engagement, messaging, communication and youth empowerment.

  • The climate workshop addressed these issues and also covered everything from health impacts to economic impacts; the science behind climate change; and the solutions. We also had a guest speaker from Allapattah, Caron Pascual, a resident and environmental engineering student from Miami Dade College. She shared her story and her concerns related to climate change. 

  • The main takeaways from the evening were that citizens need to become engaged individually, but also collectively, to start bringing more awareness to these issues and help build community resilience. Based on the feedback from the surveys, health was a common concern for many of the participants, especially after the links between climate change and health were clarified during the workshop. People connected the dots quickly.

The Town Hall: April 7, 2018

  • As a co-host of the event, the Allapattah library manager talked about the services the library provides and its promotion of climate change literacy to the community. Allapattah may not currently suffer from major flooding events or even storm surge, but climate change is not limited to sea level rise. Climate gentrification can shape and change a neighborhood, as much as flooding can. Health issues that were discussed, such as Zika, can put many mothers and children at risk. With warmer, wetter summers, Zika and other vector borne diseases threaten all neighborhoods. 
  • An FIU Professor who attended the town hall created a map specifically for this event, showing the elevation projection of each property in Allapattah. Included in the maps were also the proportion of homes that are rentals and land value.  Rental Proportion is a good measure of vulnerability because renters have little choice when it comes to landlords making decisions to sell or keep their properties.
  • Aside from the discussions and the maps, one of the great outcomes of this town hall is that new programming was suggested be created at the Allapattah Library, involving the City of Miami’s Office of Resilience and Hugh Gladwin, the FIU professor specializing in GIS. This free program would teach residents how to use mapping software. These are powerful tools, increasingly being used to demonstrate the impacts of climate change on a local level. This kind of program could build critical knowledge and capacity in the community and mobilize the community to demand better regulations on their behalf, increasing their resilience to the impacts of climate change.