Sen. José Javier Rodríguez Speaks at Bartley Lecture
Florida State Senator Rodríguez shared his journey to pass a “transformative” sea level rise planning law at URP’s annual Earnest R. Bartley Memorial Lecture.
State Senator José Javier Rodríguez in his home district in Miami. Photo source: Stian Roenning, Miami New Times.
October 1, 2020
Florida State Senator José Javier Rodríguez was the honored speaker at the 2020 Earnest R. Bartley Memorial Lecture hosted by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning on the evening of October 1.
To a large Zoom audience of URP students, faculty, alumni, and family of the late Prof. Bartley, Senator Rodríguez discussed the three-year process to gain support for and pass Senate Bill 178. The new law requires state-funded infrastructure projects near the coast to conduct sea-level impact studies. He characterized the bill as “most transformative” because it requires tangible action. To pass the law, he built a coalition spanning environmental, economic, and fiscal interests currently facing climate impacts and uncertainties.
Sen. Rodríguez has been a staunch advocate for planning to address sea level rise and other climate change impacts, as well as to reduce atmospheric carbon. For the past three years he has filed twenty bills related to climate change. Rodríguez wore rain boots with the hashtag #ActOnClimateFL every day during the 2020 Session to highlight the urgency, and he said he will continue to do so in 2021 because the need persists.
Sen. Rodríguez emphasized the important role planning plays in supporting social justice. He explained that when change is chaotic, people lacking resources are especially hard hit. But through planning change can happen more gradually and people are better able to adapt.
Responding to climate change comes down to looking out for everyday Floridians since it affects every aspect of our lives from our health to the economy.