When it comes to regional issues, we have typically thought in terms of marketing, transit and the Rays. But there’s something more compelling: the impact of climate change. It’s existential–from the environment to the economy to future generations.
So it was encouraging to see that for the first time Tampa Bay area leaders gathered to affirm and discuss the challenges of climate change under the auspices of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s Resiliency Coalition. Along with the state’s chief resiliency officer, Julia Nesheiwat, Tampa Bay Mayor Jane Castor, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos were prominent in a summit-like gathering that included scientists, academics and government officials. Time, not unlike Rick Scott, is no ally for one of the most flood-vulnerable regions in the country. Regional is the only approach, with the state as key catalyst.
The Planning Council hopes to make the summit an annual event. Indeed, it only makes sense to address–with more than rhetoric–a crisis that ominously encroaches more each year.