With the threat of sea-level rise looming, many South Floridians say it is critical for the next president to be a strong proponent for cleaner energy.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump completely disregards scientists' warnings to limit greenhouse gases. He recently promised to shut down federal climate change funding. And though Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has been more vocal in addressing the phenomenon, some locals are dissatisfied. They argue that the former secretary of state has flip-flopped on her positions regarding the U.S. becoming more green.
“Clinton is not consistent in her stances on clean energy overall,” says 23-year-old environmental advocate Tifanny Burks of Davie. “She claims she wants clean energy and water for all, but she is pro-fracking, which is a direct threat to our clean water source.”
According to Senator Bernie Sanders and PolitiFact, Clinton has supported and continues to support fracking, though with conditions (e.g. not if contamination of water is present or if methane is released into the atmosphere).
Burks tells New Times that due to her concerns about the chemicals involved in fracking and potential accidents that could contaminate groundwater, she supports Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate. "[Clinton's stance] is reactive and not proactive; therefore, she is not really against fracking at all," Burks says.
Stein, who is vehemently against fracking, is pushing her party’s proposed Green New Deal (GND), which aims to ban the practice and turn Florida into the Sunshine-Powered State by 2030.
Millions of jobs will be created as America transitions to cleaner sources of energy and moves away from the “dire” threats of fracking and other methods of extracting dirty energy, Stein told New Times last month.
“By transitioning to solar energy, there is so much opportunity for jobs and growth because there has not been a mass transition to solar energy in this country yet,” Burks says.
Until July of this year, Burks identified as an independent. But she switched to the Green Party partly because of its aggressive approach in addressing climate change and revamping how Americans power their lives.
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“Most people in the Broward Green Party, which I belong to, were Democrats up until recently. Having clean energy is a human right,” Burks says. “Jill has a strong stance on making clean energy, water, and air a necessity for all.”
If Stein scores more votes than expected in the presidential election, she will be able to push the GND at the national stage, argues Burks. “Overall, on a national level this transition is going to create 20 million jobs,” she says. “[In Florida] it is safe to say a big chunk will be allocated a fair share of that.”
One thing is certain: The overwhelming amount of scientists say climate change is real and that it “is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities.” Some experts even say the damage done by humans is so extreme that Miami will be a goner in the next century.
Since the effects of climate change could drastically blur Florida's current coastline in the next 100 years, many locals say that having a president in the Oval Office who is ready to address the issue and curb its impact on Americans' lives is not just preferred but necessary.