|Brune speaks to over 100 Tampa Bay supporters under the solar panels|
at the net-zero office of Sierra Club near downtown St. Petersburg.
Photos by Marcia Biggs
Florida Sierra Club welcomed national Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune in March to kick-off the club’s Ready for 100 Clean Energy for All campaign in St. Petersburg and Miami. The nationwide campaign is encouraging 100 cities in the Unites States to commit to working toward sustainability and 100% clean energy.
On March 22, Brune was greeted by more than 100 Tampa Bay supporters at the Sierra Club net-zero office building near downtown St. Petersburg. Attending the morning press conference and open house were many local dignitaries, public officials, business leaders and club members.
In January, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman signed on to a Declaration of Local Leadership which reaffirms a commitment to advance climate action and boost the local clean energy economy. Kriseman was in Cuba so was unable to attend, however the St. Petersburg Sustainability Coordinator Sharon Wright spoke on his behalf. Also speaking were chair of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and city council member Darden Rice, the owner of the net-zero building which houses the Sierra Club office Tom Hall, and Suncoast Chair Lisa Hinton.
|Greeting Brune in St. Petersburg were|
Florida Director Frank Jackalone,
Suncoast chair Lisa Hinton and
Tampa Bay chair Kent Bailey.
“For the first time in history, we can build our civilization with power that is 100% safe, 100% secure and 100% sustainable,” Brune told the audience under the shade of a solar array covering the parking area. “We are part of an amazing movement together that is teaching our country and the rest of the world how to power their economy with clean energy.”
“The Executive Order the Mayor signed in 2015 includes aggressive goals like zero waste and net zero energy, so partnering as a leader with the Sierra Club and other cities for the Ready for 100 campaign is sensible step,” Sharon Wright proclaimed.
The next evening, nearly 150 community leaders and the mayors of six South Florida cities gathered in Miami to meet Brune as he launched Miami "Ready For 100" campaign, urging all Miami-Dade County mayors to lead the way with commitments to 100% clean energy.
|An impressive lineup of Southeast Florida public officials and |
business leaders came to Miami to listen to Brune.
Photo by Greg Hamra
|Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado/ |
Photo by Steve Malagodi
“Miami is at the forefront of climate change and sea level rise in the United States, and in South Florida climate change is increasingly not a political issue -- it’s a survival issue. It will affect Miami’s neighborhoods, tourism industry, drinking water, and way of life. But the greatest energy resource here is right over our heads. The sun can power this city and create thousands of jobs in the process,” Brune told the audience.
The Mayors of Miami, Pinecrest, South Miami, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay, and Cutler Bay, as well as other public officials and city leaders, all joined forces at the event to say it’s time to shine a clean energy spotlight on South Florida.
Clean energy has hit its stride, with solar prices falling 80% in recent years, and the solar industry now employing over 200,000 people -- nearly twice as many people as the coal mining industry. According to the recent Solar Jobs Census, the solar industry grew 12 times faster than the overall economy last year. Stanford scientists say the transition to 100% renewable energy will save the average American family $260 dollars per year in energy costs and another $1,500 per year in health care costs.
Florida currently has 6,500 solar jobs, and is ranked 8th in the nation, after states like Massachusetts (15,000 solar jobs) and California (75,000 solar jobs). Major brands such as IKEA, Whole Foods and Apple and Intel have already made strides to move their companies to 100% clean energy. With cities and businesses leading the way, 100% clean energy is becoming the new standard for climate leadership.