On January 22nd, 2024, The City of Miami Climate Resilience Committee members voted for Aaron DeMayo to be the Chair for 2024 and Nkosi Muse to continue as Vice Chair.
In 2019, the City of Miami consolidated the Sea Level Rise Committee and Waterfront Advisory Board into the Climate Resilience Committee. The charge of the Committee has expanded to include: (1) recommending to the Commission changes to the City Code and policy that will help the City thrive in the face of all climate change threats and (2) providing input on City-owned waterfront land use issues when tasked. The Committee meets monthly.
During this first meeting of the year, the Committee unanimously voted to recommend the City Commission transition to non-gas (electric) leaf blowers, which will have many benefits. The City of Miami Beach and the Village of Key Biscayne have enacted similar regulations. Running a gas-powered leaf blower for one hour emits the same smog-forming emissions as driving a light-duty passenger vehicle from Miami to Baltimore, and running a 2-stroke blower for half that time is the same as driving the Ford F-150 from Texas to Alaska. The Miami Forever Carbon Neutral plan aims to reduce emissions.
"Valuing Quiet: An economic assessment of US environmental noise as a cardiovascular health hazard," published in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), states that environmental noise pollution increases the risk of hearing loss, stress, sleep disruption, cardiovascular disease, and other adverse health impacts. A US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study found that Gasoline-powered landscape maintenance equipment (GLME; leaf blowers/vacuums, trimmers, edgers, brush cutters) accounted for 43% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and around 50% of fine Particulate Matter (PM). Two-stroke engines were responsible for the vast majority of fine PM from GLME.
The item is on the March 14th City of Miami Commission Agenda as a discussion item. It is a simple transition from Gas to Electric leaf blowers. Most consumers who have leaf blowers use electric for convenience, price, and that they are readily available. It's only a small investment for commercial landscapers to transition, and there are numerous health and sustainability benefits. If we truly intend to reach the sustainability and emissions goals in the City Plans, this transition is a low barrier of entry, should happen with little or no debate, and is just one of many small actions cumulatively needed to help us reach those goals.
Looking forward to a productive year. Let me know if you have ideas for the Climate Resilience Committee agenda.