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'City Will Go Underwater': Young Activists Push Miami Commissioners To Pass Climate Emergency

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There is brand new talk about what could be a climate emergency in South Florida, and its young people leading the charge to get adults to take action.

There was a little political theater mixed with a hard message at the Miami City Commission chambers on Thursday.

"The city will go underwater. It is only a matter of time," a young activist told commissioners.

"We see in front of us our future stolen," another activist said. "At this point, we are done with it."

Extinction Rebellion members packed the commission chambers to support Miami Mayor Francis Suarez's climate emergency declaration. They were joined by several other groups, including: Animal Rebellion Miami, The CLEO Institute, 350 South Florida and Fridays For Future Miami.

"We should take this bold step to declare a climate emergency for the city of Miami," Suarez said during the meeting.

Many cities have already passed the climate emergency resolution, which is a nationwide awareness campaign to ramp up the climate change conversation.

To resounding applause, the commission chairman passed the motion.

"With the mayor and the commission declaring a climate emergency, it really sends the message to the community and the state and federal level how urgent the need for it is," said Jane Gilbert, the chief resilience officer for the city of Miami.

The city of Miami is joining more than 1,100 jurisdictions in 20 countries that have made a similar declaration.

In 2017, city voters approved $192 million on storm drain upgrades, flood pumps and sea walls to curb flooding. Projects are underway.

"It is all part of the city of Miami's recognition that climate adaption and climate change is something we have to deal with," Suarez said. "We have to mitigate as part of making sure we are here forever."

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