Making politicians confront reality, climate change

The good news about bad news is that people are standing up and calling our leaders into account. Locally I saw this happening twice in one day: at a rally about climate change, and at a town hall meeting to combat corruption in my hometown’s city hall.

John Van Leer,
John Van Leer, standing in a salt water puddle in South Beach, calls for political action to halt the effects of climate change.

Activists stood in a salt water puddle on a sunny day in South Beach and demanded that the candidates address climate change in the final presidential debate on Tuesday, being held in Boca Raton. The salt water comes at high tides and floods busy Alton Road, especially next to the Whole Foods market, which has gleaming solar panels on its roof. Check out the video from the Miami Herald, Call for Action on Sea Level Rise, to hear the activists in their own words.

Fast forward to later that evening, when Scott Gavin stood among a crowd at Alaska Coffee of more than 50 residents of the City of North Miami, where Galvin is a long-time councilman and a “pesky” voice against a list of corruption that is expanding like rabbits. (For example, his video this month about a shady sidewalk cleaning deal helped to shut it down. For now.). The good news, he said, is that the city is among the most solvent in Florida due to an infusion of $17.5 million in cash due to the Biscayne Landing development, and on Tuesday night the City Council will be voting on how to spend (or preferably save, according to Galvin and the majority of town hall meeting attendees) that money.

All of this political action has me wondering: is there an election going on? Oh yes, there is, and here in Miami we have the longest ballot EVER (let me guesstimate the 10 pages at about 13,000 words). No wonder people are taking to the streets: the official means of voicing concerns (voting) is too confusing and too slow; meanwhile, the fastest means of disseminating information widely (local mass media) is crumbling due to the Internet/market pressures, and the national news has become a joke (spawning The Daily Show, etc.).

The good news is that you can do something about your frustration. You can step outside of your comfort zone, join together with other disgruntled people, and let the world have it.


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