By Chere' Erickson February 3, 2020

Defend University of Central Florida chapter secretary Chere’ Erickson was invited by Rep. Darren Soto (FL-9) to speak on a panel on the climate crisis and Central Florida in Kissimmee. You can watch a recording of the panel here.

Chere’ shared why she is involved in the fight for our climate and her experience speaking on the panel:

The climate change town hall was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what is being done in Central Florida to fight climate change and to learn who some of the leading climate activists are. I also learned more about why it is so important to take action in Florida particularly. Florida is the frontline for many climate catastrophes in the US, meaning that we will feel some of the worst effects of climate change compared to other states.

The night began with Congressman Soto explaining the Clean Future Act and other projects of his, such as the Reef Restoration Act. Then each of the panelists introduced themselves. I spent a great deal of time talking to one of the panelists named Jason Webber with Florida Conservation Voters. He explained their goals and we exchanged contact information.

After the event was over, I was able to network with members of the audience. One man approached me after the meeting and explained that he does work connecting universities across the country so they can share their efforts in environmental action. I was able to receive his contact information and he hopes to connect us with a club at UCF. There was also a UCF student who is a part of a club that wants to prevent power lines from being put up around campus. We discussed the possibility of her speaking at one of our next club meetings. Finally, I talked to the founder of Green Actioners, an organization that aims to educate elementary school children on ways they can lessen their global footprint. He gave me his business card and asked to keep in touch.