One of our members will be visiting Florida in February to listen to Floridians’ climate stories and inspire legislative action. This is her story:

Floridians know better than most that the climate is changing. Sea-level rise, record-strength hurricanes, salt-water intrusion… residents of this state are literally “feeling the heat” and many are working on ways to deal with it.

Uli Nagel, 57, a Pilates instructor from the Berkshires, MA, whose clients include many Floridians during the summer, is traveling the state to learn more about how locals, from elected officials to scientists to surfers to students and fishermen, think about Florida’s future. As well as listening to their stories, struggles and hopes, Nagel is sharing her own experience of empowerment in working with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a nonpartisan group whose citizen members lobby every office in Congress to put a fair price on carbon. She is pedaling across Florida in a “velomobile”, a new kind of electrically assisted tricycle called a PEBL.

“A few things came together for me in the past year,” Nagel says. “I learned about the desperate state of the oceans, without which humans cannot survive. I joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which is working toward implementing a carbon fee and dividend, placing great emphasis on the fact that a solution to the climate crisis needs to encompass the whole economy and have broad, bipartisan support. Also, my experience holding “listening workshops” showed me how much creativity gets released when people feel truly heard. And I was given some money by a very generous client to invest in working on climate change.”

A longtime bicycling enthusiast, Nagel used some of this money to buy the PEBL, a vehicle invented by a teenager in Massachusetts that bridges the gap between a bicycle and a car.        “It’s a good example of one creative solution for a big issue. Transportation has now overtaken power generation as the most carbon intensive sector of the economy,” Nagel says. She will be riding up the Florida’s east coast from Miami and across the state to Tampa, visiting fairs, events and Representatives’ offices and facilitating dialogues along the way.

“This is my first visit to Florida and I am excited to get to know people here. Your beautiful state has much to teach the rest of the country. Not many people know, for instance, that the bipartisan Climate Caucus in Congress was founded by Floridian Republican Carlos Curbelo and Democrat Ted Deutch. Together with another 60 members of the house—30 Democrats and 30 Republicans—these pioneers are hopefully taking bold steps soon to set our nation on a path to clean energy and a sustainable climate.

A lot of people know that much has to change. Yet we often think ‘I am not an activist.’ But actions come in all sizes and shapes, one of which is exercising our right to petition our elected officials. One of my goals is to share the power of this with as many people as I can, to help preserve the quality of life not just in the state of Florida but in our country and on the planet for our children and grandchildren and all the generations to come.”

Please help support this trip here!

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