People holding coffee cups

Jose Regalado was not always an early riser. But after his mother passed away, Jose moved back home. And he started getting up at 4:30 each morning to join his father, Tomás, for a cup of Cuban Coffee.

Regalado: “We started just chatting about everything …”

… including climate change.

Tomás was the mayor of Miami at the time. But Jose says his father had not thought much about the topic. He was more focused on his constituents’ concerns about mortgages and taxes.

Regalado: “For a lot of people, they’re really just focused on the next month, not necessarily the next 20, 40, 50 years.”

But during their pre-dawn chats, Jose helped his dad see that global warming is a here-and-now problem, too.

More frequent floods caused by rising seas damage homes, close roads, and disrupt businesses in the city.

Mayor Regalado was moved to action. He proposed a $400 million bond, which passed last year before he left office.

Almost half the money will be used to reduce flooding, for example by installing pumps and sea walls.

Regalado: “He realized that he had a chance to make a difference. It really was just because he thought it was right. And I’m really proud of him for that.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...