In the grand scheme of Dade County, South Miami doesn’t matter. The oversize village of 12,000 souls wedged between Kendall and Coral Gables is known as a quiet place to live if it’s known at all. That’s why Philip Stoddard’s tale is all the more remarkable. As mayor of a place most South Floridians could barely place on the map, Stoddard has taken on one of the state’s most powerful institutions — Florida Power & Light — and, in his free time, become one of Florida’s loudest voices on climate change. It helps that he isn’t just a politician: He’s a professor in Florida International University’s biology department. So when he stands up to sea-level-rise deniers like Rick Scott and Donald Trump, he has the intellectual goods to win the argument. Similarly, even FPL’s millions in lobbying dollars haven’t been able to squash his battle against the company’s ill-planned new nuclear reactors in South Miami-Dade. Stoddard is living proof never to discount little guys who have science on their side.
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