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May 14 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

How to Save Miami From Climate Change Panel


Books & Books


May 14
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Books & Books in Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134
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The Books & Books Literary Foundation presents…



Flash, Zelalem Adefris, Alex Harris, Mario Ariza, and Andrew Otazo

Tuesday, May 14, 7PM | Books & Books Coral Gables


Event Description

Is Miami doomed to climate disaster? Maybe! Is there anything Miamians can do to ensure their city’s long term viability without it turning into a Waterworld dystopia or opulent wasteland for the hyper-wealthy while the rest of us commute from Orlando to service their dry cleaning? Definitely!
No one is coming to save us. Not Congress, not FEMA, not the Army Corps of Engineers, not the Aspen Institute, no one. We—the residents of this wholly irrational, infuriating, magnificent city—must save ourselves. So, join us at Books & Books’ Coral Gables location at 7 PM on May 14 for a panel of local climate activists, journalists, and communicators who will discuss how Miamians can mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
Participants include Mario Ariza (Floodlight investigative reporter and author of Disposable City), Zelalem Adefris (CEO of Catalyst Miami), Alex Harris (Miami Herald climate reporter), Flash, and Andrew Otazo (climate activist, author of The Miami Creation Myth, and writer of this event description). Panelists may or may not be in costume, depending on Andrew’s persuasiveness.

About the Panelists

Flash is a community organizer, art director, event manager, street promoter, poet, and networking conduit.   Utilizing Art Activism as a platform for connecting social issues with artistic reflection, Flash produces events that instill solidarity with others through art, music, performance, education, and creative interaction. Flash was the Funk Finder for independent art venues Funktional Funk and The Wallflower Gallery.  He organized a wide variety of gallery art exhibitions, spoken word presentations, independent film screenings, musical showcases, theatrical performances, and community forums. In 2015, Flash joined the Board of Directors of Love the Everglades Movement with a focus on community outreach projects and is currently the LTEM Newsletter Editor. As an avid bike rider, Flash travels all over Miami-Dade County and beyond on his bicycle – his primary form of transportation.

Zelalem Adefris is the CEO of Catalyst Miami. Before being named CEO in April 2023, Zelalem was Catalyst Miami’s deputy CEO where she oversaw the implementation of the organization’s critical programs, policy agenda, and strategic plan. Zelalem joined Catalyst Miami in 2016, and has a deep passion for achieving climate, social, and racial justice. In addition to her role at Catalyst Miami, Zelalem serves as a co-chair of the Miami Climate Alliance and as a philanthropic trustee of the Solutions Project. She has been recognized as a 2023 Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellow, 2020 Grist 50 Fixer, 2020 Florida International University Emerging Leader Finalist, and 2017 Miami Times New Generation of Dreamers awardee. Zelalem holds an MPH in Global Environmental Health from Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Health from Brown University.

Alex Harris is the lead climate change reporter for the Miami Herald’s climate team, which covers how South Florida communities are adapting to the warming world. Her work has been honored by the Society for Environmental Journalists, Covering Climate Now and the Esserman-Knight Awards, among others. She was on the Miami Herald team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the Surfside condominium collapse.

Mario Alejandro Ariza is an investigative reporter and a Dominican immigrant.
His byline has appeared in publications like the South Florida Sun Sentinel, The New Republic, and The Atlantic. Mario wrote a book called Disposable City: Miami’s Future on the Shores of Climate Catastrophe, which was published by Bold Type Books. His essays have been featured in The Believer and selected for Best American Essays. He lives in South Florida with his cat, his dog, and a sturdy pair of waterproof boots.

Andrew Otazo is an award-winning Cuban American author from Miami. He published The Miami Creation Myth, which was featured in The Dan Le Batard ShowAXIOSNPRNBCBrickell Magazine, and The New Tropic, among many other outlets. Andrew was previously published in AXIOS, Acentos Review, The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, The New Tropic, The Plantain, The Islander, The Sun Sentinel, and Energy Policy Journal. Andrew is the CEO of ARO Communications, a public relations firm that specializes in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, public affairs, and earned media strategy. Andrew has a recurring guest lecture series at the University of Miami, Cornell, Clemson, and local middle and high schools on grassroots activism. Andrew’s accolades include the International Latino Book Award, Brickell Magazine’s Top 20 Under 40 List, WPLG Local 10’s Most Treasured Citizen, Miami’s Next Leader, FAES Latino Leader in Politics, and two Proclamations from the Village of Key Biscayne.