Miami’s Opportunity for Sea Change
As a native South Floridian, I’m thrilled to see that Miami and the greater South Florida tech scene are absolutely having a moment. A moment like this not only offers the chance to look forward to the future we can build, but also an opportunity to look inward at the problems we need to solve for the community that we, as South Florida innovators and entrepreneurs, serve. The #MiamiTech Manifesto, which I proudly signed along with over 400 other Miamians, is a great step in laying the groundwork for our approach.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new talent, capital, and momentum, but we cannot lose sight of the critical problems we have to solve. The pandemic has highlighted that science and our relationship to the natural world need to be taken seriously. It’s also added to the urgency for a change in our approach.
Moving forward, we must approach problems proactively instead of reactively. As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, with mass vaccinations hopefully returning us to a semblance of normalcy in the coming months, the next crisis to hit South Florida has actually been happening all along: climate change and ocean degradation.
For this moment and momentum to last far beyond this decade, Miami and South Florida as a whole must LEAD the fight against climate change, or quite literally watch it get washed away. With increasing rates of sea level rise and tropical storm activity, Miami is projected to see significant impacts within the decade, with long-term projections putting Miami underwater by 2100. Miami has been referred to as “the poster child for a major city in big trouble,” with rising seas expected to cause floods, contaminated drinking water, and major damage to property and infrastructure. Miami is also already seeing the social impacts of climate gentrification disproportionately affect people of color in communities like Little Haiti.
Image credit: The Verge
Meanwhile, our natural capital to combat climate change and severe weather has also been suffering. Last fall in Biscayne Bay, we saw a mass marine life die-off event from years of unchecked wastewater mismanagement, pollution, and warming waters. Mangroves, which are one of nature’s primary forms of coastal resilience and most efficient carbon sequestering plants, are also threatened with population decline. Similarly, South Florida’s coral reefs, which are also critical to coastal resilience and hotspots for biodiversity, have been reduced to less than 10% of their historical cover. Our once colorful and lively ecosystem that has historically driven ecotourism has largely deteriorated into muted tones of white and brown, with much less abundant marine life.
Image Credits: Sun Sentinel, Key Biscayne's Citizen Scientist Project, Miami New Times
In this moment, we must see these problems as opportunities for developing groundbreaking solutions and establishing new economic models for the world to follow. Seaworthy Collective sees these opportunities inextricably linked to our ocean; they will drive the development of a regenerative blue economy.
As artfully articulated in the #MiamiTech Manifesto, we need to approach these opportunities as a collaborative and inclusive community of builders disrupting the status quo and activating the universal talent in South Florida and beyond. Seaworthy Collective highlighted the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the ocean and climate sciences in its most recent panel. Seaworthy addresses this need head-on, through accessible and prerequisite-free opportunities to co-found your own impact venture or grow your existing startup in the ocean and climate tech space through its Opportunities for Sea Change.
Through its Opportunities for Sea Change, Seaworthy is democratizing opportunities and working to diversify interdisciplinary ocean and climate impact innovation and entrepreneurship. The oceans need all the help they can get, and Seaworthy welcomes anyone who is passionate about working towards solutions within any one of our 6 target areas to apply. Seaworthy is excited to not only build individually impactful solutions, but also create larger systems of solutions that have benefits for each other, broader ocean and climate health, and the blue economy.
Instead of aspiring to be sustainable and focus on practices that mitigate harmful impacts on the ocean and climate, Seaworthy Collective is facilitating the co-creation of regenerative solutions through our venture studio. Regenerative solutions address problems at their root: combatting plastics with alternatives rather than recycling, focusing on aquaculture instead of sustainable fishing, sequestering blue carbon, and much more. However, as systems rather than independent solutions, they have even greater potential for collective impact.
Image Credit: Applico
Seaworthy connects its pipeline of ventures to its network of over 40 mentors and strategic collaborators, as well as local and regional resources to help them stay on track for success, partnering with incubators and accelerators to help them grow. Seaworthy is also inclusive of existing startups seeking to grow through our pitch competition. Altogether, the ventures Seaworthy Collective co-creates and crowdsources will help build a regenerative blue economy as collective systems of solutions that address the critical issues of ocean degradation and climate change on Miami and the greater South Florida area.
Applications for venture studio startup co-founders and existing startups close April 30, so be sure to submit your application for Seaworthy Collective’s Opportunities for Sea Change soon!
I look forward to making this moment count for Miami, greater South Florida, our ocean, and our planet. Whether you’re a newcomer or a native to South Florida, let’s innovate like our communities depend on it – because they do!
Seaworthy Collective Founder & CEO