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Meet a Florida Republican Concerned about Climate Change

Back in March many of us learned that officials in Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection were forbidden to say the words Climate Change, Global Warming, or Sea-Level Rise. Florida became the target of much deserved mocking over that one. The story became another partisan argument about “belief” in climate change or not. (As if the climate crisis, caused by our pollution is like the Tooth Faery or Santa Claus.)

While all this mocking of deniers may help climate change action figures to let off some steam, I wrote in the Huffington Post about the risk of always pointing the finger at extreme deniers leading us to overlook our own denial about the crisis. Also when we focus our ire on lawmakers who don’t take climate chance seriously, we take the pressure off those members of congress who say they are concerned about climate change but do nothing about it.

Here some good news. The story is beginning to change

Republican congressman, Carlos Curbelo, clearly states that climate change is happening, humans are the cause, AND we must do something about it. I first heard about this story via Steve Valk from the Citizen Climate Lobby in his blog post, Caught in the Act…of Being a Climate Hero. Thanks in part to the work of Jay Butera from CCL in Pennsylvania, a group of students in Homestead, Florida later met with Representative Curbelo to personally thank him for taking a stand on climate change.

In this short clip, Marvin Bloom, in his somewhat ridiculous but endearing way, tells the story of Carlos Curbelo. (transcript below)


Hi this Marvin, Marvin Bloom with a climate news story from Florida. I hate Florida, which sounds awful because I have so much family that moved there from New York. But I hate the heat and the bugs. And its a weird place politically. Not that I am that much into politics. But when it comes to climate change recently the media has been mocking Florida a lot.

Have you heard the story about when Florida’s Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of the words Climate Change and Global Warming? I’m sure you heard it. It was the only quote unquote climate news story out there for awhile and clogged up Facebook walls and tweeter feeds.

According to the Guardian Newspaper, Kristina Trotta, a Florida DEP employee revealed

“We were instructed by our regional administrator that we were no longer allowed to use the terms ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ or even ‘sea-level rise’,” “Sea-level rise was to be referred to as ‘nuisance flooding’.”

Rep. Carlos Curbelo speaks to fifth grade students in Homestead about climate change and sea level rise Photo by Denise Mendoza

Rep. Carlos Curbelo speaks to fifth grade students in Homestead about climate change and sea level rise
Photo by Denise Mendoza

Well here is a different story about a Florida Republican lawmaker talking about climate change that you probably have not yet heard. I found out about it from Steve Volk over at the Citizens Climate Lobby who wrote about Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo. While touring the Everglades on Earth Day with President Obama, Curbelo again a Republican US congressman from Southern Florida said, you ready for this?

“I share the President’s concerns about sea-level rise, and its effects on our drinking supplies, our economy, and our way of life.  I am committed to finding common ground to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

wow. nice.

After hearing about this some Miami fifth graders in science teacher Denise Mendoza’s class got so excited about the lawmaker’s statement about climate change they began to write thank you notes. The idea spread throughout the school and on May 8th Representative Curbelo visited the school and received 200 thank you notes from the students. Even Scientific American magazine got wind of Curbelo’s proactive climate talk and the school’s glee. They reported Curbelo saying,“It is vital Congress works in a bipartisan manner to mitigate the effects of climate change and I’m proud to be a pro-environment voice in the Republican Party.”


Fifth grade students from Gateway Environmental Learning Center in Homestead, Fla. with their Thank You notes

With sea level rise in Florida and this recent awful flooding after a severe drought in Texas, and the projected hurricane season ramping up, Republican presidential hopefuls like Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry might want to sing unto the voters a new song when it comes to climate change.


Author: Peterson Toscano

Peterson Toscano is a quirky queer Quaker concerned about Climate Change. His website is

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