The 2020 Election matters because issues matter. One of the issues that matters is our environment – the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the earth that generates the food that sustains us. Most of the assaults on our environment occur from the effects of climate change. Data from the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) (November 2017) confirms that global and U.S. temperatures continue to rise; precipitation is increasing in frequency and intensity; and ocean temperatures and sea levels are rising – all as a part of climate change.

For local impacts, consider that gradual sea-level rise increases salt-water intrusion in our aquifers and groundwater pollution through sewage runoff, jeopardizing our water quality and supply. Sea-level rise also contributes to higher tides and increases the frequency and duration of localized flooding. Global warming and higher ocean temperatures increase the frequency and intensity of weather events; fuel the growth of invasive plant and animal species such as blue-green algal blooms, red tide, disease-carrying insects; and compromise food production from our farms and the safety of our food sources from the sea. The cost of mitigating the effects of climate change strain our financial and governmental resources. Flooding and extreme weather events have led to an increase in property damage and repair costs which has resulted in Floridians paying higher insurance – if we can get insurance at all.

Our tourism-dependent businesses and economy are threatened as is the operation of our governmental services. Climate-related realities present challenges to nearly every issue championed by the League of Women Voters from affordable housing and healthcare to immigration, racial justice, and the security of our voting systems – a pillar of our democracy. The challenges are significant yet we can take important action to address them. Are you doing what you can do to help in the effort?

Democracy depends on a citizenry that is willing to take action to ensure that issues are addressed. The safety of our food and water supplies and the assurance of being able to live in a safe and healthy environment are issues that matter. In a recent survey conducted by a local university, over two-thirds of Floridians are concerned about the effects of climate change on their health, their property, their financial security, and their quality of life. Are you one of those Floridians?
If your environment matters to you, then the 2020 Election matters. Empowering voters is what we, as the League of Women Voters, do. As a responsible voter, you should familiarize yourself with the issues. The Environmental Issues Group will be hosting several presentations and we urge you to participate.

Saturday, September 5 at 10:30 a.m., please join us to hear from Mario Ariza, a local reporter and author who will discuss his latest work, The Disposable City: Miami’s Future on the Shores of Climate Catastrophe, which highlights some of the broader issues related to sea-level rise – a prelude of what may come to Palm Beach County.

Friday, October 2 at 12:00 p.m., please join us for a Cool Topic panel discussion with officials from three local cities – Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and Delray Beach – to learn what your local government is doing to mitigate the effects of climate change and protect residents.

Both events are free and can be attended from the comfort of your home. Check the League’s event calendar at https://lwvpbc.org/events for details and registration information.

Please take the time to learn about candidates running for local offices and understand their position on environmental issues. Attend candidate forums and ask questions. Ask candidates how they plan to address these critical issues in your community and how you can help them. Most importantly, make your voice heard. Advocate for reasonable solutions and – VOTE!!