Working with other organizations throughout the state, REF conducts a range of activities designed to build awareness among the public on climate and energy issues that leads to action. Programs range from workshops and community forums to citizens rallies and other educational activities. Our goal is to increase awareness and understanding of climate change by raising climate issues through traditional and social media as well as organizing and amplifying strategic grassroots’ citizen activities.
The hurricane seasons of 2017 and 2018 were two of the most disastrous in U.S. memory. Florida lay directly in the path of Hurricane Irma. Although Florida avoided the full impact of Hurricane Maria, the devastation that Maria brought to Puerto Rico and other island nations has sent thousands fleeing to Florida. With Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas and the Gulf Coast only two weeks earlier, it has become clear that the debate not only encompasses sea-level rise and storm events but also the impacts of disaster-fueled migrations on communities, soaring economic costs, and costs in terms of lives and livelihoods. Then, in 2018, Hurricane Michael brought devastating losses to Florida's Panhandle that will take years if not decades to recover from.
There is growing bi-partisan cooperation among Florida's Congressional delegation to recognize the threat posed to Florida by climate change. Republican Representatives Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are among the founding members of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. Though climate deniers still occupy key state positions, events exacerbated by sea-level rise such as Hurricane Irma and the "sunny day" flooding are eroding the arguments of such officials who continue to ignore proven climate science in the face of current challenges.