FL Man Gov. Desantis–Sneaky Climate Change Fighter? MD’s Zero-Emissions Bus And Tree Solutions Laws Enacted, Don Cheadle–Climate Activist, Green Think Tank NewConsensus.com

by | Sep 7, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Florida man Gov. Desantis–sneaky climate change fighter? Plus, Don Cheadle–climate activist. Maryland’s Zero-Emissions Bus And Tree Solutions Laws enacted, and green think tank NewConsensus.com.



Speaking of the endangered species Florida Man…Uh we weren’t…wait are you talking about all the way to yesterday? Yup. Today’s Florida man is Governor Ron DeSantis. The guy Howard Dean labeled even crazier than Donald Trump?

Yeah, crazy like a fox. Despite the mayhem he seems to bring to any sense of governance around the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Ron DeSantis seems to have a very forceful climate change action plan for Florida, parts of which his administration got passed over spring 2021.

I hadn’t heard anything about this.

Exactly. And it’s precisely because ronny boy ain’t calling it climate action. Instead, two bills he signed into law, he’s calling flood risk assessments and resilience plans. We’re really putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to protecting the state of Florida and particularly our coastal communities from the risks of flooding and storms,” DeSantis said at the signing.

One bill, The Resilient Florida Trust Fund includes creation of a Resilient Florida Grant Program in the Department of Environmental Protection to aid local communities combatting sea level rise. That money will actually come from $500 million in stimulus money Florida received from the federal government during the pandemic. The other, the Statewide Sea Level Rise Resilience Act will re-direct 25% of the $400 million collected annually from real estate transactions toward funding efforts to mitigate sea level rise, and another 25% toward increasing the resiliency of sewage treatment plants and systems.

DEEPER DIVE:  Sun-Sentinel, Statewide Sea Level Rise Resilience Act, Resilient Florida Trust Fund



Living in the District of Columbia, we occasionally tout the good deeds of our neighbor states, Maryland and Virginia. Maryland mostly. True, Virginia does have some catching up to do. That’s the great thing about needing to catch up. Gives you something to strive for.

Like these recent Maryland accomplishments including two that were mentioned in last week’s story on the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the  “Zero-Emission Bus Transition” Act (SB 137) and the “Tree Solutions Now” Act (HB 991). The bus transition law requires 100% of new state buses to be zero emission after 2022, leading to a complete transition of the fleet to electric. This is a huge win for communities whose residents live near bus terminals and breathe in fumes from idle engines.

The tree solutions law requires Maryland to plant 5 million trees over the next eight years, with two-thirds of the tree-planting funding going to urban, historically-redlined and economically-disadvantaged areas. This law will explicitly help communities that have suffered from racist policies and significantly impact people’s everyday lives.

You see, by planting trees in urban areas, this law increases home values, reduces crime, lessens the heat island effect, creates jobs, and improves quality of life. These laws actually went into effect on May 28th.

The Climate Daily will keep you up to date on the progress of these laws as they are implemented statewide. By the way, Virginia, if you’re listening, Maryland has adopted 42 new climate/environmental laws in 2021 alone. Whatchu waitin for?

DEEPER DIVE: CCAN, Baltimore Sun, Tree Solutions Act, Zero Emissions Bus Act, Maryland’s 42



Yes, THAT Don Cheadle. A lot of people know him from his great and varied film work. Some may even know of his humanitarian work in both Rwanda and Darfur. But how many people know of his climate activism? Did you know that Cheadle has worked with the United Nations on climate change concerns? In 2010, Cheadle was named U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador

Did you know he co-created the documentary event series entitled Years of Living Dangerously with He and Harrison Ford? A lot of people think that was a Schwarzenegger initiative. If you haven’t seen it, well it’s worth a look. At the time of its initial release, it seemed wildly pessimistic and foreboding. Now, watching it makes one almost nostalgic for the good old days when we could only IMAGINE what climate change might look like. I did say, “almost.”

He is also on the advisory board of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is an international grassroots environmental group that trains and supports volunteers to build relationships with their elected representatives in order to influence climate policy.

Cheadle also sits on the Board of Directors of The Solutions Project–according to Wikipedia, is an organization first conceived in 2011 with the goal of utilizing the combined efforts of individuals in the fields of science, business and culture to accelerate the transition to 100% renewable energy use in the United States by 2050.

In an interview with EDF’s Eric Pooley, Don Cheadle said he’d first noticed the impacts of a changing climate during his high school years in Denver when his family could only water their lawns on certain days because of the water shortage.

“I have been watching the steady increase in the effects of climate change ever since,” he said. Climate change is real and we must act.” 

DEEPER DIVE: Wikipedia, Years of Living Dangerously, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, The Solutions Project, UNEP, EDF



Here are some people taking serious action to combat climate change. They call themselves the New Consensus.

New Consensus is a think tank that works on plans to directly tackle the largest problems facing humanity and was founded in 2018 by Demond Drummer, Morehouse class of 2005 grad and Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Rhodes scholar and Yale grad.

According to New Consensus’ website, it has five goals. The group aims to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions while creating employment opportunities, create infrastructure and industry changes in the U.S. while meeting clean air, water, and food objectives, and “promote justice and equity” through “repairing the historic oppression and frontline and vulnerable communities.”

In a February 2019 Mother Jones profile, Drummer said that New Consensus is modeled to solve “the history of systemic injustice.”

New Consensus’ website declares that “a truly beautiful world is possible…without poverty or pollution, and with prosperity and dignity for everyone.” New Consensus can accomplish its goals through solar energy, Earth’s billions of people, and existing technologies. However, “political” obstacles exist in the form of “entrenched, backward-looking political elites” who won’t address “existential threats to life as we know it.”

And this is why New Consensus matters to us. It’s a think tank by people of color providing inherent climate justice intersectionality-framing from lived experience.

DEEPER DIVE: New Consensus, Roosevelt Institute, Netroots Nation