Interview: Mayor Phil Stoddard of South Miami

BY ON March 8, 2017

This is a Moms Clean Air Force exclusive interview with South Miami’s Mayor Phil Stoddard:

South Miami Mayor Phil StoddardWhat is unique about protecting South Miami’s resources and environment?

We live in a water state. Water moves over us, around us, through us, and under us. We have the Gulf and Everglades to the West, Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic to the East. Lake Okeechobee to the North, and Florida Bay & the Keys to our South. We have 4 layers of water moving underneath us.

As a parent are you worried about the effects of climate change on your children and the children of South Miami?

When she was 14, my daughter figured out that sea level rise would prevent her from living out her life in South Florida. National Geographic writer Laura Parker ended her story with the conversation that led to that realization. My daughter is now in college in Washington DC, getting a toe-hold in a city with a more stable future. I worry for all the children and families who don’t know to address what lies in their future.

Why is a bipartisan effort so important and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?

Weather and water don’t care much about our politics and people realizing a direct threat tend to band together irrespective of their politics. It will happen. Obama’s Whitehouse science advisor John Holdren put it best when he said: We will respond to climate change with some mix of mitigation, adaptation, and suffering; all that remains to be determined is the mix.”

Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?

To change people’s thinking, we have to understand why people cling so desperately to false and outdated ideas about the climate. The most useful book I’ve found on this subject is “What We Think About When We Try Not to Think About Global Warming” by Per Espen Stokes. 


Mayor Stoddard was first elected to office in 2010 and is currently serving his fourth term as Mayor. In 2015 Mayor Stoddard was appointed by the White House to the Governance Coordinating Committee of the National Ocean Council where has developed national policy for sea level rise. In 2016 Mayor Stoddard was named by Politico Magazine to the Politico-50 for his blunt explanations of the economic consequences sea level rise, and was named the Green Municipal Official for 2016 by the Florida Green Building Coalition. Dr. Philip K. Stoddard has been a professor of biology at Florida International University since 1992. A big proponent of renewable energy, his house and car are powered by the sun. Mayor Stoddard has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time, National Geographic, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Stern, The Bond Buyer, NPR, PRI, BBC, MSNBC, and numerous documentaries, most recently National Geographic’s “Years of Living Dangerously.”



TOPICS: Climate Change, Florida, Politics