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COCONUT GROVE (CBSMiami) — During his visit to Everglades National Park Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced the Coconut Grove cottage of famed conservationist Marjory Stoneman Douglas would be designated as a national historic landmark.
The news comes almost 68 years after the publication of Douglas’ “The Everglades: River of Grass” in which she warned of the degradation of the Everglades’ ecosystem.
“In the words of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who helped preserve this land: ‘There are no other Everglades in the world’,” the President said during his remarks on Earth Day. “Climate change is threatening this treasure and the communities that depend on it, which includes almost all of south Florida.”
“This is a problem now,” he said. “It has serious implications for the way we live right now. Stronger storms. Deeper droughts. Longer wildfire seasons. The world’s top climate scientists are warning that a changing climate already affects the air that our children are breathing.”
Governor Rick Scott declined the standard invitation to greet the president and Air Force One on the tarmac at Miami International Airport. He was instead in Tallahassee.
The governor has denied a claim that his administration banned the use of the term “climate change” in official government communications. Governor Scott has called on the federal government to speed up funding for Everglades restoration, citing a $58 million backlog.
“I think the governor needs to get with the program. South Florida is ground zero for the impacts of climate change,” said George Cavros, the Florida energy policy attorney for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
He touts solar power as a way to cut carbon emissions.
“The Everglades is a national treasure. It’s the foundation of our tourist-based economy. And it stands to be severely damaged by sea-level rise,” Cavros said.
The president said only bipartisan action will help protect the Everglades for generations to come.
“We only get to enjoy things like our amazing national parks because great Americans like Teddy Roosevelt and Marjory Stoneman Douglas and a whole bunch of ordinary folks whose name aren’t in the history books, they fought to protect our national inheritance,” the President said. “Let’s stand up and do what’s right before it’s too late.”