As the seas inexorably rise and greenhouse gases cook our atmosphere like a microwave left on high, there's never been a more important time to protect and restore South Florida's natural environment. The region is at a crossroads: Either we get swallowed whole by the tides, or we take bold steps to make our shorelines healthier and more resilient. Yet many Miami lawmakers either live in denial (ahem, Marco Rubio) or consider any natural green space an invitation for a new condo tower. Enter Blanca Mesa, a Cuban-American writer, federally licensed health insurance navigator, and former realtor associate, who now doubles as one of Miami-Dade's loudest advocates for the wilderness. Mesa grew up enjoying a Miami where parks were actual parks, not concert venues or shopping centers. Over time, she watched those spaces deteriorate as lawmakers succumbed to the lure of urban high-rises and sprawl. In 2010, while the Virginia Key master plan was being developed, the former Miami Herald reporter decided the stakes were too high. She launched the popular blog View from Virginia Key to inform the public about the history and environmental significance of the area, as well as to encourage public participation in plans for the future. Most recently, Mesa, who works during the day at the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, fought to protect the public and natural resources in the face of the Miami Boat Show's relocation to Virginia Key. She plans to continue to encourage people to "speak up and show up," as well as push for the highest protections for the natural areas of South Florida. With Mesa at the helm, Miami could become an example for the world of climate resilience and innovation. Will lawmakers listen?