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South Florida leaders call for Climate Justice for Puerto Rico aboard Greenpeace's Arctic Sunris

Today we participated in a press conference aboard Greenpeace’s @ArticSunrise calling for a Just recovery and sustainable transition for #PuertoRico in conjunction with the Climate Justice Alliance and their @OurPowerCampaign. The boat will be escorting another ship with relief supplies, costing the campaign a lot more money that could had been used in additional supplies for the people but, because of the Jones Act, another boat had to be rented. This is one of many imposed unjust rules that have to change for a speedy recovery of the island.

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No Planeta B Executive Director, Yoca Arditi-Rocha's statement:

Press Statement

Press Conference for Our Power Campaign, Miami-FL

Friday, Nov. 10th

Good Morning. My name is Yoca Arditi-Rocha, I am the director of No Planeta B, a sustainability consultant and climate change educator, an activist, a mother and I am from Puerto Rico.

According to the recent government climate assessment report, the NCA4 report, ‘The planet has entered the warmest period -in the history of modern civilization-, with global average air temperatures having increased by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 115 years”.

Year to date (January–October 2017) average temperature for the contiguous U.S. are third warmest on record. Every state across the contiguous U.S. had an above-average temperature for the first 10 months of this year and the second wettest on record for this period. To put this in a local context, For Miami, from Jan-Oct has been the hottest & 3rd wettest on record. Average summer temperatures in Miami have risen by 2.1°F (1.2°C) since 1970. Miami saw its first 90°F day of the year a full month earlier than it did 4 decades ago. Warmer days are on the rise across the globe.

Oceans play a critical role in the earth’s temperature, but because 93 percent of the energy from human-caused warming goes into our oceans, the planet is experiencing a more intense water cycle which is why we are observing a global increase in heavy precipitation. We’ve seen in Texas and around the globe for the past few years, we’ve seen it here in Miami.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has had so far, 17 named storms, including 10 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes. Hurricane season may not be over but it has secure a place in the history books. This HYPERACTIVE hurricane season has generated more destructive, land-falling storms than the past few years combined. The U.S. has never been hit by three storms this strong in the same season in modern records. Let’s remember that:

Harvey dumped 33 trillions gallons of water & will cost the state up to $180 billion — more than epic Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane Irma set a record for most intense storm in long duration — anywhere on Earth.

Hurricane Maria, went From A Category 1 Storm To Category 5 In About 1/2 A Day.

WHY? Because our planet and hence, our oceans, are warming. In regards to this hurricane season, we are seeing some of the hottest ocean temperatures on the planet in the western Caribbean Sea and we all know that is jet fuel for hurricanes and an increase in sea level rise. We are pumping so much carbon into our limited atmosphere it is warming our planet, plain and simple. We may think our atmosphere is vast and limitless but it is not. If you would take your car and drive it upwards to the troposphere, it will ONLY take you 9 miles or the about the same from here to Coconut grove. That is our safe blanket. The reason why we have Life on Earth. And because of our extractive carbon based economy, we are filling it with heat-trapping gases from carbon pollution as it would be an open sewage.

It’s science, plain and simple.

You may look from the left, and you may look from the right, and no matter what side you stand, our planet is warming and our climate is changing. This debate is over.

Do We Question Hurricane Trajectories From the national Weather Service or the National Hurricane center? NO. We Do not! When we prepare for hurricanes or we plan to go out to watch a Solar eclipse. We listen carefully to climatologists and weather experts and prepare.

Raise your hand in you live in South Florida and you check your favorite weather forecaster or media channel to follow the storm or the eclipse. We don’t dispute the science, right?

However, scientists also tell us ice levels are at record low and sea levels are at a record high. Yet our federal government has chosen inaction and here in our State several of our elected officials continue to play a political game. Some have instructed to eliminate the words climate change and global warming from state communications, others claim they are not scientists; yet when scientists come telling, they choose to debate the science.

Ladies & gentleman, climate change is real. It’s here and affect us all.

To quote a well known climate scientist” A thermometer is not republican or a democrat” and to follow of this campaign’s theme a quote from Martin Luther King that says : “We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.” And we it comes to climate change, the truth has never been clearer. Mother nature has been warning us for years. The signals are louder & stronger. The canary in the coal mine is dead. We may come from different countries, faiths or party lines but when it come to climate change, we are all on the same boat because no matter where we come from, we all share one thing: our planet and with it, our atmosphere. Climate change will affect us all one way or another. So to our elected officials that continue to support the fossil fuel industry polluting our atmosphere, I tell them this: the future is clean! Renewable energy is the way. We have it. It’s free. It’s clean; doesn’t produce asthma, It’s does not run out and it’s winning the business case even without the 500 billion subsidy it gets worldwide! We have it in Florida and we have it in Puerto Rico. Plenty of it. If a powerhouse like Germany can do it, you can bet we can do it also. They don’t call us the Sunshine state for nothing. But first we need the WILL, you me, it takes all of us. I am putting my panels up, and voted on Tuesday and I will vote in every upcoming election because politicians -if you haven’t heard- are also renewable and we need leaders that work for the people not their personal interest.

As to Puerto Rico is concerned, Climate change poses an even greater threat because of it is Threat multiplier capabilities and affects vulnerable communities the most. Please excuse me while I tell you a quick personal story and coincidentally similarly reported on the Miami Herald today:

My cousin Jorge, who lives in Utuado, and his wife and 4 children were unaccounted for 5 days. They live near a river where they run a zipline eco-tourism small business with river canoeing, and horseback riding tours. Thankfully they survived. But, a week ago I get a call from my dad saying he got a call from Jorge asking him for 2,500 5-gallon buckets to be shipped to PR. Because people in his community where coming to his property and the river to get clean water and did not have containers where to take it in. Imagine that. Imagine yourself, after Andrew, if you were here, like I was, or Irma, going to the Miami River to get water for you and your family. There is no paper towel that can fix that. These are people's lives, my family, citizens of the united states of america. We need to do better than that!

We have a sunset opportunity to build a more resilient Puerto Rico; get them standing and ready to withstand more storms. Because they will come bigger and stronger. There’s no sugar coating that.

58 percent of the island still doesn’t have power due to in part of a slow federal response but also due to its archaic grid. 98 percent of PR electricity come from fossil fuels, including an astounding 47 percent from oil. In Pr, residents pay 65% more per KwH than the average american according to the Energy Administration Information. EAI. After the storm passed, people could not get gas for their generators because the gas stations had not power. Puerto Rico and Florida, I may add, need to build a resilient, clean, independent, renewable base and -in many cases micro grids- to face & withstand our new climate reality. Puerto Rico’s renewable potential is huge. And we are starting see out of this huge chaos great stories. Just yesterday, the Solar Foundation announce they are sending 5 million dollars of worth of solar equipment to the island and we know Tesla is already on the ground making a difference. This campaign will also be shipping survival kits with solar panels from Energy Relief and other organizations to support a more just and sustainable recovery. This is what we need; we do not need to be feeding more carbon to the beast to make more storms. We need clean energy for all!

To conclude, I just want to say this:

20 of 25 most vulnerable cities to major coastal flooding & sea level rise are here in Florida. 20. While I applaud the City of Miami Beach & the City of Miami’s adaptation & resilience leadership, there are no enough water pumps that can handle the rising seas worst case scenarios projections if we continue with our business as usual approach; it does, however, saves us time to get our house in order and get the leadership needed not only in Washington but also here in Tallahassee. The United States may have pulled out of the Paris Agreement but rest of the world and us ARE STILL IN and we need every politician in this country despite their political party to join as well because as I already said, we are all citizens of this planet, and we have no planet B!

Thank you!

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