The Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and Bradenton Herald want to drive a discussion on the important issues facing the Sunshine State. They assembled a panel of 50 influential Floridians, including Dr. Tiffany Troxler – Director of Science of our Sea Level Solutions Center. The selected individuals will offer their respective point of views throughout the next couple of months as a part of The Influencer Series.
The initial question:
“What is the biggest single challenge our leaders must confront to secure a better future for Florida?”
Dr. Troxler’s answer:
Water is at the heart of significant conflict across the state – protecting our threatened Florida Everglades and water supply opposes an increasing need to drain and expel water from our land surface as quickly as possible, and as extreme events like flooding and hurricanes persist. This balancing act weighs in favor of practices that put short-term, piece-meal decision-making at odds with long-term sustainability of our livelihoods as Floridians. This conflict broadly threatens what we value most as Floridians – our opportunity for an exceptional quality of life. Coastal design thinking and data-driven scenarios of resilient futures illustrate that better, more holistic planning, resource management and development can tip the scales toward sustained supply of freshwater for human, agricultural and natural systems, safeguarding water and all its uses, while still enabling sustained economic growth. The challenge is a commitment to near-term decision-making that is informed by science, paves the way for long-term societal solutions that are innovative, holisitic, healthy, equitable and sustainable, and safeguards our citizens and the services they depend on, next year and 50 years from now.