St. Thomas Law hosts former Governors Crist, Graham and Mackay to discuss Florida Environmental Challenges
Miami Gardens, FL – February 20, 2013- Three former governors of Florida Charlie Crist, Bob Graham and Buddy MacKay visited St. Thomas University on Tuesday, February 19, to discuss environmental issues affecting South Florida.
“Each accomplished so much good in public service and each continues to do so much. All have been true champions of the environment,” said Bob Butterworth, former Florida Attorney General and former St. Thomas Law Dean.
The environmental topics discussed ranged from restoration of the Florida Everglades to global warming and its impact on South Florida. Efforts to curb climate change have encountered resistance due to their economic repercussions, although the governors still weighed heavily in their favor.
“The things that you would do to address climate change can be only beneficial for the environment as a whole,” said Crist. “Why not reduce emissions? Why not clean up our water? It’s the right thing to do.”
Graham, concerned with current Florida laws, commented on the repeal of land use regulations. “I believe that the recent roll back of much of the legislation is frankly the result of us having a legislature and an executive branch that has very little knowledge of Florida, its history and the accumulated wisdom of what it takes to live in a special, fragile place like our peninsula state.”
When asked what people could do to stop climate change, Crist explained that Floridians must be engaged in efforts to counter climate change in order to demonstrate it to our Federal counterparts. “If we show genuine commitment, it will only show our partners at a federal level.”
MacKay warned younger generations of the policies that are enacted today. “If you think that the old people aren’t aware that they’re dumping these costs on the young people, you got another thing coming. That should be the issue that you all run for office on.”
Despite the concerns raised, the Governors remained optimistic and shared their knowledge and experience with the law students from St. Thomas Law, F.I.U., Ave Maria, and Nova Southeastern Law School, in hopes that they would make a better environmental change for the future.
“I’m a firm believer that the future can always be brighter and relationships can always be better,” said Crist.
The dialogue was organized by Keith Rizzardi, Assistant Professor and Director for the Environmental Sustainability L.L.M. Program at St Thomas. The Event was sponsored by the Florida Bar Environmental and Land Use Section and the Florida Earth Foundation.
Along with St. Thomas University School of Law, Ave Maria, Nova Southeastern and Florida International University School of Law were co-sponsors of this successful event.