WASHINGTON, DC—Resources for the Future (RFF) today released a new installment of Resources Radio: “On the Job with Florida’s First Chief Resilience Officer, Julia Nesheiwat.”
In this episode, host Kristin Hayes talks with Julia Nesheiwat, a former professor and State Department official who is currently serving as Florida’s first chief resilience officer. Nesheiwat elaborates on the unique challenges Florida faces, as a sprawling, populous state with many coastal communities potentially imperiled by climate change. Discussing the diverse responsibilities of her role, Nesheiwat explains how she works alongside leaders from government, academia, and the private sector to devise proactive solutions to climate challenges and encourage collaboration across the whole state.
Previously, Nesheiwat has served in combat with the US Army; earned her PhD from Tokyo Institute of Technology; and lectured on the geopolitics of energy, climate, and technology at the US Naval Postgraduate School, Stanford University, and the University of California, San Diego. Fittingly for the Florida resident, Nesheiwat likes to go stand-up paddleboarding and surfing.
Notable quotes from the podcast:
- Seeing firsthand the effects of climate change: “My first government job and being in the military really opened my eyes to how the environment and climate issues really tie into the nexus of our foreign policy, our economic policies, our national security overall … It hit me first when I was deployed right after 9/11 in various combat zones and having to see firsthand—local villages and communities affected by the turmoil, whether it’s a natural disaster or a manmade disaster, not having running water, not having the resources necessary.” (1:44)
- What a chief resilience officer does: “[The governor] created this brand new role last summer where he was looking for a statewide coordinator to look at ways that we can bring in all our departments and agencies to focus on issues such as sea level rise, intense storms, aging infrastructure … all the issues that Floridians have had to deal with.” (3:42)
- Working together to resolve climate challenges: “There are no borders when it comes to these issues, and it’s certainly too expensive to go at it alone. So seeing [communities] be able to work in a collaborative way and seeing that forming across the state to really help offset some of these issues—it’s truly progressing.” (12:40)
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