Global celebration of World Environment Day brought to Sarasota

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- This is World Environment Day, and Sarasota County is playing a big role. The United Nations choose the Suncoast as one of its host communities for the annual day of raising awareness about the environment.

Sarasota County is the only community throughout the United States selected for this annual day of environmental awareness. And while it was a celebration of sorts, the message delivered was not something to celebrate.

“Raise your voice, not the sea level” was the slogan for this year's World Environment Day.

“Sarasota County has done terrific work in terms of sustainable development and attention to environmental issues here,” said Patricia Beneke of the U.N. Environment Programme.

The topic of this year's discussion was climate change-induced sea level rise. “Sarasota County is much like coastal and islands communities around the world and we face similar challenges,” said Sarasota County Commissioner Carolyn Mason.

Some scientists believe much of Florida's coastline could be underwater in the next 100 years.

But don't tell that to the protesters boycotting the U.N.'s visit outside Mote Marine.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a complete sham. The fact is that all these predictions that this group, and others like them have made, have not come true,” said protester Julie Brady.

One thing we know to be true, according to the U.N., is the county's commitment to going green. “There's a lot to be learned from Sarasota County.”