Building Philanthropy for a Better Florida

Climate Resilience and Environmental Justice in Florida Communities

Publication date: 
January, 2018

The existential threats to people and the environment from climate change are increasingly well understood. NOAA’s 27th annual State of the Climate report revealed record-setting climate change indicators in 2016, resulting in extreme global events including late-season Hurricane Matthew, which devastated parts of Northeast Florida. In addition to more active hurricane seasons, climate change indicators – such as extreme heat, severe drought and vector-born disease such as Zika – carry systemic implications for Florida’s marginalized communities. Hear from experts on why climate justice, community-based change initiatives and integrating climate resilience and equity into your grantmaking portfolio deserves philanthropic attention, as well as important ways philanthropy can support and amplify this work.

Presenters: Michael Bauer, J.D., Ph.D., ret., former City of Naples, Florida Natural Resources Manager
Caroline Lewis, Founder and Executive Director, The CLEO Institute
Jacqueline Patterson, Director, Environmental and Climate Justice Program, NAACP
Moderated by Shamar Bibbins, Program Officer, Environment, The Kresge Foundation

Shamar Bibbins (Moderator) Bibbins serves as a program officer for Environment at The Kresge Foundation, where her grantmaking supports policies and programs that help communities build resilience in the face of climate change. Shamar plays a lead role in managing the Environment Program’s Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity Initiative. That initiative supports community-based nonprofit organizations seeking to influence local and regional climate resilience planning, policy development and implementation while reflecting the priorities and needs of low-income people. She also contributes to the development and implementation of program strategies. Shamar joined Kresge in 2014, bringing a history of engagement in environmental efforts and a commitment to action on climate change. She previously served as the director of national partnerships at Green For All, a national nonprofit dedicated to building a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Shamar earned a bachelor’s degree in science, technology and society from Vassar College and received a Fulbright Fellowship to Fukushima University where she conducted research on environmental social movements in Japan.

Michael Bauer, J.D., Ph.D.

HS-MikeBauersq.jpgDr. Mike Bauer retired as the City of Naples, Florida Natural Resources Manager where he was responsible for all environmental matters within the City’s jurisdiction. In that capacity, he coordinated with federal, state, and regional agencies, city council, and citizens’ advisory groups. He established programs that included Naples Bay water quality testing, oyster reef restoration, seagrass protection, stormwater pond nutrient reduction, filter marsh construction, gopher tortoise restoration, fertilizer reduction, and artificial reef construction. Mike also created a City energy savings program and a Green Business program; he brought in over $1 million in grant monies for City environmental projects. Mike was a National recipient of the 2012 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Walter B. Jones Memorial Award for Excellence in Local Government. He was appointed by the Governor to the State of Florida Environmental Regulation Commission in 2011 He was the 2009 State Recipient of the Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies Environmental Leadership Award. 

Mike has a Ph.D. in Environmental Policy, a J.D., a M.S. in Wildlife Biology, and a B.S. in Biology. Before beginning work on his Ph.D., Mike was an environmental law attorney and policy analyst for the Yakama Indian Nation of Washington State. He had legal responsibilities with respect to tribal natural resources within their 1.2 million acre reservation and extending over an area of approximately 11 million acres within which the Tribe has reserved Treaty rights. Prior to earning a law degree, Mike was an assistant refuge manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. His responsibilities involved management, planning and evaluation of natural resources on a federal barrier island/estuary coastal complex.

Caroline Lewis Lewis is on a mission to educate communities on the climate science, seriousness and solutions, and to motivate individuals to become climate-conscious voters.

She is the Founder and Executive Director of The CLEO Institute, which stands for Climate Leadership Engagement Opportunities. CLEO is the only 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Miami, FL solely dedicated to climate change education, engagement, and advocacy.  For two decades, Caroline was a science teacher and school principal, spending fourteen of those years at Ransom Everglades in Miami, Florida.  She then became the Education Director for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, creating the Fairchild Challenge, which is an environmental education program that annually engages tens of thousands of students in Miami and around the world. Caroline founded CLEO in 2010 because she recognized the need to address climate literacy by breaking down scientific data and educating communities at a grassroots level. By connecting the dots inherent in climate science, seriousness, and solutions, CLEO inspires an urgency to act.

Jacqueline Patterson the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice, Jacqui Patterson, MSW, MPH, has worked with Peace Corps, IMA World Health, and ActionAid International, co-founded Women of Color United, and serves on the Boards of Directors for the US Climate Action Network, National Black Workers Center, Institute of the Black World, and Center for Story Based Strategy and the Steering Committees for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change and Center for Earth Ethics, as well as serving on the Leadership Circle for the Climate Justice Alliance.
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