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Growing up in Tampa as a young girl, Susan Glickman had a childhood that created a heart for advocacy.As a child, she saw her father open one of the few desegregated dentist offices in Tampa. As a young Jewish woman, she attended Episcopal and Catholic private schools. Early in her career, she helped her brother successfully run for Hillsborough County Commissioner.
Now, as a seasoned environmental advocate, Susan goes by the moniker Clean Energy Girl – a superhero battling big money interests in politics.
If you enjoyed this episode, you may enjoy our episodes with Audubon Florida Executive Director Eric Draper, Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg and Miami-Dade County Chief Resilience Officer Jim Murley.
Chris Cate: Welcome to the Fluent in Floridian podcast, featuring the Sunshine State's brightest leaders, talking about the issues most important to the people of Florida and its millions of weekly visitors. In this episode created by SalterMitchell PR, our executive producer, April Salter, the CEO of SalterMitchell PR, talks to the clean energy advocate, Susan Glickman.
April Salter: Susan Glickman is Florida's director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Some people know her as the clean energy girl, a superhero battling big money and politics. Susan has a reputation for advancing environmental causes and is known throughout the state as the founding chair of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. Susan Glickman is definitely fluent in Floridian. Susan, thanks so much for joining us today for the Fluent in Floridian podcast. Really glad to have you here.
Susan Glickman: Thank you for inviting me.
April Salter: Susan, to start with, you grew up in Tampa. You were from a Jewish family, but you attended Episcopal schools, Catholic schools. What was that like?
Susan Glickman: Well, Tampa was really a small town then. And I feel very privileged to be a native Floridian. Great place to grow up. In the Jewish tradition, one of the things that is most highly valued is education. So, at the time, my parents wanted to send my brother and my sister and I to what they thought were the best schools. So, as you mentioned, I went to St. John's Episcopal Day School where they would invite one of the Jewish students to read the Old Testament, not only Communion service every Wednesday, which I did in fourth and fifth and sixth grade. And then, went to the Academy of the Holy Names, which is an all girls Catholic school. It's actually situated right on the Bay shore in Tampa, which is the world's longest running sidewalks. It's a very familiar building for people in Tampa. It was really terrific.
Susan Glickman: I think everyone is different, but for me, going to an all girls' school was probably something that formed a lot of my approach and my personality. And no one tells you not to be smart or funny or class president when you're in a room full of all girls. So, it really was a good formation for me to do what I ultimately became, which is a public interest advocate. And I've worked on any number of issues over the years, but in the Jewish tradition, we look at the world through a lens of justice and righteousness. The word is called Tzedakah in Hebrew. It's Jews are called on to make the world a more just place or they call Tikkun olam, which is repair the world. So, I've done that my entire life. It's where I gravitate and I'm probably a better advocate for the public and others maybe. Sometimes even my own self, but it's just my nature is to want to defend and to want to help and to make the world a better place.
April Salter: Was it odd to be ... were you one of the few Jewish students in the Episcopal or Catholic schools?
Susan Glickman: Well, it was definitely a minority, but there were other Jewish students in Tampa at the time. So, I've always felt more of being special rather than feeling like the odd man out. Maybe that's just because I had such a healthy home life with hands on parents and so forth. And also it was the way the school was. St. John's, which is still a tremendous school in Tampa today, divinity was a class as every bit as rigorous as science and history. So, you understood religious traditions with a great respect for all religious traditions in the role that they played obviously. The Christian faith was a function of Jesus Christ who was a Jewish himself. So, anyway, we learned that and you just felt very comfortable that everyone was accepted and understood and appreciated.
April Salter: What was Tampa like when you were a kid? What do you remember about that?
Susan Glickman: Well, Tampa was a great place where it's located geographically with the water. So, water was always a big part of just the way I saw the world and still do. And you can't help but caring about the natural environment because we're sort of part and parcel of the natural environment. The other thing was that it was just a small town and I used to say I couldn't go anywhere in Tampa without seeing people I know. In fact, my mother who until very recently volunteered every Sunday for 30 years. So, years at Tampa General Hospital. She still can't go somewhere without seeing people she knows. And she would know who was sick and what was going on with everyone. And that was just wonderful.
Susan Glickman: It was a time, it was smaller then. You could be a big fish in a small pond because it was very, very homey. Of course, now it's become developed so much. There are neighborhoods that I'll hear about and I sometimes scratch my head and I'm not even sure where they are. But in Tampa at that time, the very what they call south Tampa, central Tampa and downtown, and Davis Island, where Tampa General Hospital sits, that sort of was our stomping grounds and where I grew up.
Susan Glickman: It was great. You got on your bike in the morning and you went up to the baseball field and your parents didn't see you until it was time for dinner. It breaks my heart that young people now don't have that kind of freedom and latitude because of everyone's concerned about crime and so forth. And just people knew each other.
Susan Glickman: Tampa also had some very smart leaders early on. Like, Tampa mayor Bill Poe, for instance. They didn't have the kind of race relations issues. Not to say that there weren't issues, but the leaders of the community worked together. You had Italian and Cuban and Spanish and a significant African American community. I think there was more respect and a level of cooperation and conversation at that time. I love the whole Latin Cuban Spanish culture. Ybor City. It always seemed so rich to me. I know other places don't have that. With what we see now, with some of the hostilities or with race relations, again, it sort of saddens me because to me that what was terrific about Tampa.
Susan Glickman: My father, may he rest in peace, was a dentist. He had a significant number of patients that were African American. It wouldn't have occurred to me to be anything other than typical, but my understanding at the time, that wasn't always typical. And we would go to the airport and you would pull up at the airport and the porters that helped you with checking your bags and so forth. And they were always "Hi doc" and "Hello." I mean, you just knew people and my parents were that way. Like a lot of people, how you're raised is very much informs who you are and who your thinking is. So, the issues of equality, they weren't a discussion in a positive way. And I do know that others in the south did not have that experience because there were longstanding prejudices that, I think, it passed on unfortunately from generation to generation. And my experience was exactly the opposite, so Tampa was a really great place to grow up.
April Salter: Most families or many families feel like it's best to avoid talking politics at home. But I know that like me you come from a family where political discussion was part of our every day life. And your brother was an elected official and was a representative for Florida. What was that like growing up for you? What was it like around your kitchen table?
Susan Glickman: There was a constant discussion of politics and current events. Even in very young ... I happen to be the youngest in my family and my brother and my sister and I are just each a couple of years apart. So, you sort of have just ready made conversations and playmates and so forth. We just talked about it. We talked about what was going on at dinner. And my brother, Ron Glickman, ran in his 20s to be a Hillsborough County commissioner. Walking tens of thousands of houses door to door. He was about six votes shy of winning outright in his first race in a field of six, which is a lot. And so, he learned how to run campaigns and back in the day you literally would go to the supervisor of Elections Office and they would give you a page of stickers of voters and you put them on a 3x5 index card and mark how many times they voted. Whether they were frequent voters or not frequent voters. We would walk door to door.
Susan Glickman: I did a lot of campaigning. I mean, I've been on a phone bank for EJ Salcines, who was our State Attorney, many, many years ago when I was probably 13 years old. So, I just was always drawn to politics and campaigns. And then, Ron won. Ran and won a seat in the Florida legislature. That was when Mark Gibbons, the son of our longtime Congressman Sam Gibbons, went and ran for the Lieutenant Governor. I learned a lot about how you really have to be poised in politics for opportunities because you just don't know when they're going to open up. So, congressional seats don't open up very often, right? Or even legislative seats.
Susan Glickman: So, I came up to Tallahassee for my brother's swearing in ceremony and I met two women who were working for a Miami Beach legislator at the time. They told me that the Director of Dade Counties, so this is how long ago it was because that's when we called it Dade Counties as opposed to Miami Dade County, but the Dade County delegation Director was looking for an assistant. And I marched down the hall and talked to her and she hired me to be the assistant for the Miami Dade delegation, which was amazing because I got to be part of this whole other huge area of the state.
April Salter: Very diverse.
Susan Glickman: Yes, very diverse. And one of the fun things was that was back before we had what we called the gift ban in Tallahassee where you can't give anything of value to a legislator or staff person. But Café Bustelo had given the Governor and the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate and the Dade delegation office a espresso maker so people can have café con leche in the morning. Back then, one of the things that was much better than the legislative process and environment, it was much less partisan. It was that the Democrats were actually in control at the time, but even then, it was just not partisan in the same way. And you just had things that brought people together. So, everyone would go to what were Studebakers out on the Appalachian parkway in Tallahassee.
April Salter: Whoo, that's a long time ago.
Susan Glickman: That's a long time ago. And people would go dancing in the next morning. They would come in to get their café con leche and I was there making it. I don't even drink coffee, I still don't drink coffee. It was a real fun time. And it allowed you to connect as human beings and make relationships with people. And I found there was more collaboration. It feels like a more positive atmosphere and hopefully we can work toward that again because what's most important is Florida and making Florida the best it can be, and not sort of adhering to some sort of arbitrary partisan lines. We've got so many issues. We'll talk more about this, but I do see some of that so far on what we've seen in our new Governor, Governor Ron Desantis who is very vocal about water quality issues and his wife Casey who seems very informed about that set of issues as well. So, I look forward to working with them.
April Salter: Absolutely. And you have been working to promote many different causes over the years. You helped to reignite the commission on the status of women and girls and to reposition that and get it started again. Tell us a little bit about that.
Susan Glickman: Yeah. Well, I always had a keen ... especially as a young girl and growing up ... in this notion of equality. I think I sort of thought that it would have been easier if I'd been a boy for many reasons.
April Salter: I'm glad you're a girl [inaudible 00:12:24] you've been advocating for women's causes.
Susan Glickman: Yeah. And so I have. I just always felt like women having the same opportunities, girls having the same opportunities as boys was just a no-brainer. And so, I worked toward that. What had happened was Governor Bob Graham had a commission on women status and it really languished after he left office. So, we reconfigured that in the office of the Attorney General where it sits today. That was in 1992. And established in the capital the Florida Women's Hall of Fame, which if you walk into the state capital on the plaza level, you will see that. And we got to honor women.
Susan Glickman: I helped bring in two particular women into the Hall of Fame as Chair. One of them was a former member of Congress, Carrie Meek, who had been a daughter of sharecroppers and was a real success story going to Congress. And then, the other was a woman named Betty Skelton who was a race car driver. I purposely did that because to be honest there's a lot of women politicians up in that women's Hall of Fame, and I appreciate and admire and was friends with many of them and are friends, but I really like the race car driver because the message I wanted was for girls to go to that level and see a unique profession like that and know that they could be whoever they wanted to be and do whatever they wanted to do. So, I'm particularly proud of having helped to get Betty Skelton in the Florida Women's Hall of Fame.
April Salter: I'm April Salter, and you are listening to Fluent in Floridian, a production of Salter Mitchell PR. Salter Mitchell PR loves to tell Florida stories and we're talking today with Susan Glickman.
April Salter: Susan, can you also talk a little bit about your current role as the Florida Director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy? What is the alliance and what's the history behind it?
Susan Glickman: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which is a regional organization of [inaudible 00:14:31] southeast works to bring clean energy solutions to what is a very complex problem, but the most epic problem of our day, which is global climate change. And Florida is really in the cross hairs for that. As is the southeast in general. So, I work on the issue as I do with my many colleagues in the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy on the issue of climate change. And the solution to that issue is clean energy. So, it is interesting to work both on the climate side of the science and understanding that as well as the clean energy solution side. So we get into the weeds as we say as interveners at the Florida public service commission, which are our regulators for the big power companies in the state of Florida. We help to advance the electrification of transportation, which is really one of the biggest issues and one of the best solution opportunities that we have.
Susan Glickman: Global climate change is something that has sadly become politicized to some extent in a partisan way. Although, I'm seeing that evaporate. So, I started working on climate change issues 20 years ago. So, it's very interesting to have such a long range view of a topic that's so fundamental to really our survival not only as a state, but in general as a planet.
Susan Glickman: I used to do tobacco policy actually. I worked with a campaign for tobacco for kids for five years, so we fought the tobacco companies and helped established the Food and Drug Administration to have the authority to regulate tobacco. And I mention that because the American Lung Association had a slogan. And I think of it as being very apt to the issue of climate change, and that's when you can't breathe nothing else matters. And climate change is going to be that issue that every other thing is going to go through that lens. It's going to be impacted.
Susan Glickman: So, let's think of us here in Florida. What are our two biggest industries? Our two biggest industries are tourism and agriculture. And the issues of climate change are going to impact those two areas in ways that people really don't yet understand. I was sitting in a committee actually in the Florida House of Representatives gallery, and just listening to the debate. And there was a debate about Hurricane Michael. With warmer gulf temperatures, we are getting more intense hurricanes. Whenever we see it, we've been seeing it for a number of years. And here we are talking about all the money to repair Hurricane Michael, and I'm sitting in the gallery thinking, "Well, they are talking about climate change and they don't know it."
Susan Glickman: And then, another legislator asked the ... Actually State Representative Holly Rothstein ... about the budget that she was navigating in. And started to ask her about mosquito control. Well, warmer weather, which is an impact of climate change is going to give us more mosquito-borne diseases. Probably 10 years ago, I had the two preeminent experts on global warming and public health from Harvard come in and actually do continuing education courses with the Florida Medical Association. So, we've got Zika, dengue fever, encephalitis, right? So, you've all those issues. You have heat. We have 25 days a year where the heat and humidity index is 105 degrees and by mid century it's going to be a 100 or more. So, who is coming to Disney World when they've got to worry about being bitten by a mosquito at night or during dusk and getting encephalitis while it's 105 degrees? So, for anyone who wants to have their head in the sand and ignore this issue that is coming down the pipe, that's going to impact us from sea level rise or the public health implications alone are enough to keep you up at night. It's a very simple thing to understand if you can get your arms wrapped around it.
Susan Glickman: And people say sometimes, "I don't believe in climate change." And again, we've already discussed a little bit of my background of having been exposed to a number of faith traditions, so I usually respond by saying, "You can believe in the virgin birth or you don't, that is a tenet of faith. Global warming is parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere. And like your height and your weight and you might not like it, but it's a measurement. And it just is. So, it's not something you believe in or you don't believe in. It's just science and it's a simple measurement." We were for a million years at 290 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere. And now we are past 400. And the Trump administration, one of the policy things they're trying to do is to roll back fuel efficiency standards for cars. And the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency said that policy decision alone will take us to 789 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere. I've been working on this issue for 20 years and I can't even fathom that. That is not a planet that is going to be very hospitable.
Susan Glickman: So, we just have to get past whatever tribalism ... because I think what's happened ... and I graduated from the University of Texas, but I went to Florida State University for a couple of years. I did that because as a 16 and 17 year old, we would go to the University of Florida. So, I felt like I'd been there done that at that point. So, I recognized the tribalism that comes up around sports, right? And I feel like what's happened around climate is very similar. I mean, if you're a Gator, you're a Gator. If you're a Seminole, you're a Seminole. And you probably don't like the University of Miami Hurricanes then, right? And you get in your camp. That's what people have done.
Susan Glickman: So, to just acknowledge this build-up of greenhouse gas emissions that you humans have contributed to, or more than contributed, are responsible for, is to cheer for the other team somehow. And we just can't do that because everything that we have is at stake. So, I've been helping to form a local regional resiliency coalitions some months ago. The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council under the leadership of Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long established a Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition. Tampa Bay is the most vulnerable area in the entire country to storm surge. It's because ourshelf is very shallow and we have a wide expanse of water at Tampa Bay. And then, the bay itself acts like a funnel. And so, I can tell you that insurance and reinsurance are looking at this. So, local elected officials need to be paying attention and it is not okay for the state government or the Federal government for that matter to have their head in the sand because we need to prepare.
April Salter: Susan, tell us about the Southern Alliance. I mean, do you have members? Do you have local chapters? How does that work?
Susan Glickman: Yeah. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does have members. We are not a chapter based organization like some environmental groups. Operating in the region, we are smaller than some of the big national groups, which I have worked with many of those as well. Each has its advantage. So, we've about 35 staff across the region, so from Charleston, South Carolina ... We have offices in Knoxville, Tennessee, in Ashville, North Carolina, in Atlanta, Georgia. I have colleagues in New Orleans. A sort of all around, we are very strong in the area of technical research and our ability to go toe to toe, for instance, with utilities and utility planning.
Susan Glickman: This issue, like a number of other issues, has evolved over the years. So, I spent about five years fighting coal-fired power plant proposals. There was about a five year period where there was seven coal-fired power plant proposals on the table and none of them, I am very proud to say, got constructed. You have to think long term because once you commit to a power plant or a gas plant, you're committing to emissions for next 60 years or so.
Susan Glickman: So, we work on different areas with high risk solutions. We work on the electrification of transportation. It's a great place to be because we also on ... sort of the climate change is the threat, but the solutions are very exciting and positive to bring jobs to our community. And so, energy efficiency, making your home more efficient, getting insulation and new windows, or putting solar on your roof, that creates good, high paying jobs right here in Florida. And they are jobs that you can't export.
April Salter: That's a great segue to our next question. You've been working on renewable issues in Florida and you've seen trends over time. How are you feeling right now about where Florida is with renewables?
Susan Glickman: Well, the state of Florida can do a lot better. I mean, we currently have less than 1% of our generation is from solar power. But that said, in large part because the cost for solar has just plummeted, and the technology's better and more efficient, and we are starting to see the big monopoly investor in utilities getting into the big game. You can drive Interstate 10 and you can see solar ... We're at this bit of a crossroads because the big utilities have a business model that they've had for a long time. And they benefit and their shareholders benefit when they make capital expenditures. So, the incentive that's kind of baked into the system is they want to build more power plants. They're very happy to build solar now, but if you build a couple big nuclear power plants, they're a lot more expensive. So, they get a guaranteed range of a rate of return on their capital expenditures. And so, inherently the business model is such that it doesn't incentivize helping people use less energy, which is where we need to be.
Susan Glickman: So, we're at a crossroads and it's not a blame game. They're doing their job and they're operating as they have for many years, but we've got to come to terms that we're in a new world. It's exciting. It's exciting to see the technologies. I've been following even the technology to do wave energy and Florida Atlantic University is been working on that for about 15 years and it's interesting to watch that. But the costs for solar coming down just put us into a whole new realm, but we can't ignore things like energy efficiency. I mean, we are way behind when it comes to utility programs for energy efficiency, which we must do because there are equity issues that are really embedded in energy issues. So, as air conditioners and appliances have become more efficient, people who continually upgrade their appliances or their air conditioners, they are already becoming more efficient, right? So, it's typically people who live in older housing stock or maybe people who are renters because if you're a renter ... As a landlord really typically does not have any incentive to make your apartment more efficient.
April Salter: Your utility go down, right?
Susan Glickman: That's correct because they're not paying utility bill usually. So, we have to make sure that we're integrating. But right now, for example, someone for $10,000 can buy a used Nissan Leaf. And there's a lot of misinformation or lack of understanding about electric vehicles. There is little to no maintenance on electric vehicles. And by their nature, you're not going to the gas station, you don't have oil changes. So, someone who can buy a used Nissan Leaf, that's similarly priced to other vehicles, that is just a tremendous opportunity for that person to just lower their bills of transportation.
Susan Glickman: And maybe even more importantly, the need for public transportation. Especially younger generation now are not interested in having vehicles in the same way that, April, we were. We were all sitting with bated breath for our 16th birthday because we wanted nothing more than the freedom that driving allowed us. Well, we need to have a society where you can jump on a train or jump on the bus or the trolley. And then, the electric vehicle may be part of a shared economy. People are Ubering. More and more people who say, "Look, I can do everything. Go where I need to go in an Uber and spend $200-300 a month, which will be less than a car payment. And I don't have to worry about parking." So I love seeing the values change and I'm so heartened by the younger people who aren't going to accept that, oh, this is the only way that we can run our society is with dirty fossil fuels and putting out dangerous carbon pollution because they see technology.
Susan Glickman: It's kind of fun to be ... Although, I wouldn't mind being 25 again, but it's interesting to have been of this age to watch this evolution. When I bought my first computer in 1987 and carried around a laptop in 1992 when I was demonstrating database systems from a campaign point-of-view. So, it's really exciting. While I wouldn't do anything else other than work on what I think is the most epic issue of our time, climate change. And as Scott Fitzgerald says, "The sign of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in your mind at one time and still retain the ability to function." So, that describes me completely in that climate change is one scary problem, but yet, we have the solutions. And I'm utterly optimistic that we can do that, but we are in a very short window over the next five years, ten years, to make this happen, this transition to a clean energy economy happen. It's going to be beneficial really to all.
April Salter: So, what do you think the right mix then of traditional energy or fossil fuel energy and renewable energy is to get Florida to where it needs to be?
Susan Glickman: Well, we are going to without any doubt have to dramatically reduce these greenhouse gas emissions. And really move away as wholly as we can away from fossil fuels. And there are a couple of other things that we want to frame that in. So, number one, we've got to adapt to the climate impacts in the pipeline. And I'm looking at a notion that you've got up on your wall here that I say all the time and that's when you're in a hole, what do you do? You stop digging. So, we got to adapt to the climate impacts that are already baked in the pipeline, which is probably two or three or more of feet of sea level rises. But we've got to stop digging that hole.
Susan Glickman: And then, we've got to dramatically reduce ... I mean, we start with adhering to what the Paris Agreement had. In fact, Congresswoman, Kathy Castor, another person from Tampa whom I'm very proud has been selected as the Chair of the Climate Crisis Committee in the US House has filed a US House Bill 9 and that would have us adhere to the Paris Agreement. So, we've got to do everything we can to make our homes and our buildings more efficient with the lighting and all those kinds of things. And they really are the low hanging fruit. It's cheap, it pays back pretty much immediately. And we just need a new attitude. There are often winners and losers in these kinds of things, so the people that make fossil fuels, drill for fossil fuels, sell fossil fuels, they're going to have to figure out a new game plan. That's just a fact and we're going to have to get over that and stop propping up something a product that's as harmful as this product is.
Susan Glickman: So, we're going to have to do everything we can, but we can do solar. We need solar fans. We need solar on rooftops. And if you ever drive from Tampa to Orlando in Interstate 4, you can just see warehouse after warehouse. We've got a great opportunity for that and we can build zero energy buildings. So, the solutions are there, but we need to move quickly.
April Salter: So, we're starting to see more and more cities that are adopting 100% renewable energy goals, things like that. What are your thoughts about those goals and how do you think we're going to achieve that?
Susan Glickman: I think having goals is very important. And I think even on a human level. You want to have goals in life. I think that we've got to have very detailed plans, and I'm working with places like the city of St. Petersburg, which has identified a 100% goal. They've created an integrated sustainability action plan. Mayor Rick Kriseman has provided enormous leadership, as has Mayor Buddy Dyer in Orlando. It's one of the reasons I'm so grateful to Commissioner Janet Long for her leadership because it is about leadership. That said, even the city of Orlando is still 48% relying on coal because through Orlando Utility Commission, that's the investments that they made some time back. So, they're going to have to wean off.
Susan Glickman: But one of the policy imperatives is to establish a value or a price on carbon because what's been happening is the fossil fuel industry has been polluting essentially for free because we don't have a price on carbon. So, if you go to cite a coal-fired power plant or a gas plant, especially when it comes from fract gas, which releases methane in the process. So, there are lot of carbon emissions involved in that. When you go to figure out what's more economically beneficial, and you don't add in the price for carbon, they're polluting for free and we're all paying for it with C level rise. So, we have to get the economics of it. And then, we stop saying, "Oh, it's too expensive." And I am hearing and it's disturbing some politicians saying, "Oh yeah, climate change is real, but we can't wreck the economy." That is a completely false choice and I fear that it portends some greenwashing where you then admit that you listen to the science, but you don't acknowledge that we need to make those changes.
Susan Glickman: We need financing. Financing is really the secret sauce. There's an organization working all over Florida called the Solar Energy Learn Fund and they finance solar. I myself have solar on my roof. I have 10 and a half kilowatts of solar. And I wrote an initial check, but they financed two-thirds of the solar system, and it can be done. I mean, that is really what the utilities have over people is they have the ability to build a power plant or solar farm and put it on your bill. So, Dr. Jim Fenton from the Florida Solar Energy Center would tell you that putting solar on your roof is the single best investment that a homeowner can make in terms of return. There's currently an investment tax credit that makes it even more economically viable, but the cost have come down. So, these cities and counties that are making these 100% commitment need to have strong plans to move people along. So, I do worry that if they don't pull their sleeves up and get working and make those goals reality, then it can kind of work against you if you've got places that say that they're going to get to a 100%. So, it is a very strong aspirational goal, but I do think it is doable if we take the steps we need. Again, we cannot add more emissions to the system and lock emissions in for decades and decades.
April Salter: Susan, I think some people feel like, "Yes, I agree with that, but I don't know really what to do with that. I don't know how to participate in this." What would you advise for the average Florida citizen if they agree and feel that we need to move forward? What can they do to help?
Susan Glickman: One of the reasons to me climate change is such an interesting issue to work on is because it is both global and it is absolutely that this is a global problem. I hear people wanting to put up barriers by saying, "Well, I can do this, but what if India and China are not moving forward?" So, it is absolutely a global issue and I've had the privilege of working internationally as well.
Susan Glickman: However, it's also something where an individual can take action. So, you do have to look at your own life. I don't believe that this is something that requires people to suffer. Once many years ago a legislator said to me, "What do you think? We're all going to live in mud huts?" So, I carried that comment around with me for a number of years. That's not what needs to happen. In fact, you put solar up on your roof, feel free to run your air conditioning as chilly as you want. And the batteries are coming online. All of this is really happening around us, so look at what you can do, but you can get solar financed now. So, do it. Make a pledge to have your next vehicle be electric and you can do that. And you can make your home more efficient with insulation and new windows. Just start the process and do it one piece at a time, but there is help out there to get people to take action.
Susan Glickman: And then, work to get our schools ... I mean, the amount of money that you can save. In my county, Pinellas County, the Great Bay distributor, the largest [inaudible 00:37:18] distributor in the state has solar. And they did this three years ago. A megawatt and a half. It's a cold storage facility, so they use a lot of energy. It was $2.6 million with a state estimated about a six year payback. And I was just told just a couple of weeks ago that it's really closer to five and a half years. This is three years ago, so solar is a lot cheaper now. So, just think about that. If you can pay off a solar system like that in five and a half or six years, guess what? You get 24 years of free electricity. So, inherently the people who sell electricity may not like that, but again, we're going to have to all move forward together and it's great to see the utilities putting up solar of their own. Hopefully, they'll offer packages to people to have solar. There's great opportunities out there.
April Salter: The problem with youse is that you're just not passionate enough about the issue to work on it. Susan, so we always wrap up the show with four questions. The first question is, who is the Florida leader that you admire? This could be somebody from Florida history or somebody who's still active.
Susan Glickman: Well, I admire a number of people and I think that's so important to have. People that you can sort of aspire to. And I do want to say two people, but I'll name Lawton Chiles. One of the things Lawton Chiles taught me was about the notion of prevention. Lawton Chiles was all about prenatal care and that always made so much sense to me to spend that dollar upfront and make sure that children are born healthy with the ability to thrive and to achieve, as opposed to waiting till there are problems, and then, having to fix the problem at the end. So, he taught that to me.
Susan Glickman: And then, another person whose life ended living in Florida was Shirley Chisholm. And Shirley Chisholm ran for President. She was an African-American member of Congress. I have actually nominated her a couple of times to the Florida Woman Hall of Fame because she passed in Norman Beach, but as a little girl, seeing her run for President and to speak truth to power as we say in that way as a little girl just really inspired me. And I would think if she can do that, I can do that too. So, it's so important to see what people can accomplish in their life and know that you too can make a difference.
April Salter: Susan, aside from climate change, what is something in Florida that you think deserves more attention than it currently gets? Whether it's a person or it's an issue. It's something that you feel like needs some additional attention.
Susan Glickman: Well, I think that Florida as a destination ... and we've been so fortunate because one of the reasons we have lower taxes is because tourists come in and help to pay for some of that. So, I think we need to acknowledge the role that the film industry and the arts industry ...
Susan Glickman: I mean, Florida's all about being a brand and it's one of the reasons why I fight so hard to get things like offshore drilling. It's not only the climate impact, but that and the algae blooms and the red tide, which are exacerbated by warmer weather, so we've got to protect our brand. And make Florida be a welcoming place so that is always of our equality issues that we people want to come to Florida, that it's positive. And we need to have the arts to help people find their passions and to find their avocations and to be that kind of a welcoming place. And we have so much to offer and because we have this beautiful state, we have resources. I mean, we are a financially, economically healthy state and we've got to protect that. And I don't think people see that in the holistic way that we should and that this requires because we've been given this incredible gift. And we have a responsibility to protect it.
April Salter: And Susan, what is your favorite Florida location to visit when you want to go somewhere fun in Florida or someplace that gives you peace and tranquility? Where do you like to go?
Susan Glickman: I'm a beach girl and there's many, many wonderful places, but I'm quite partial really to where I live. I live in the Tampa Bay area and the Pinellas Beach. I can walk across the street and see the sunset. So, if I'm on the east coast, I miss the sunsets of the west coast. So, I think the west coast of Florida ... And just knowing I'd never forget that I am lucky to have that and to be able to end the day. So if I'm ever home and we're getting near sunset, in myself I need to say make myself get up from what I'm doing and go over and appreciate it. It reminds me of why I do the work that I do to protect our beautiful environment. But I'm just so fortunate to have that.
April Salter: And finally, Susan, do you have a favorite Florida sports team?
Susan Glickman: I love sports, so I am very proud that in 2003 I attended the Super Bowl where the Tampa Bay Bucks won the Super Bowl. And 2004, I was at the Stanley Cup final where the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup. So, I was a child in Tampa when the Tampa Bay Bucks were formed. They were an expansion team and watched the Lightning come in. And what I love most about sports beside the fun of it and the event itself is the way that it to brings people together. You have people from all walks of life. It focuses on what we have in common rather than what is different about us. So I love sports and I appreciate you asking that question.
April Salter: Well, thank you, Susan, so much for being on the show. This has been very interesting. We really appreciate all that you do for the state of Florida. Thank you.
Susan Glickman: Thank you.
Chris Cate: Thanks for listening to the Fluent in Floridian podcast. This show is executive produced by April Salter with additional support provided by Heidi Otway and the team at SalterMitchell PR. If you need help telling your Florida story, SalterMitchell PR has you covered by offering issues management, crisis communications, social media advocacy and media relations assistance. You can learn more about SalterMitchell PR at saltermitchellpr.com.
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