In a state that is noted for its dedicated car culture, it seems a given that residents and tourists would benefit from any measurable decrease in road congestion, car exhaust, and air pollution. As National Bike Month winds down and South Florida, communities make moves to become more bike friendly, it pays to talk about the potential environmental impact of having more bicycles and less cars on Florida's roads.
Year-round sun, miles of oceanside roadways, few changes in elevation: South Florida should be a paradise for even the most casual of bicyclists. But the state is also home to plenty of thoroughfares with posted speeds in excess of 50 mph., three lanes of traffic in each direction and lots of traffic lights. Not exactly a recipe for safe and happy cycling.
I am not a Latina. I am a middle-aged white guy whose salsa dancing embarrasses my Venezuelan-born wife. But because she is a Latina, and because my teen-aged daughter is half Latina, I take more than passing interest in how popular culture portrays Latinas. And these days I’m annoyed, because the most popular Latina image out there is, well, almost as embarrassing as my salsa dancing.
It’s an image, in fact, that represents a setback for Latinas.
Immigrants have had a profound effect on South Florida. We all know about the influences on culture, food and language. But they changed the region's horticulture too.
Many of South Florida's plants have been brought here to improve the surrounds, provide food and shelter. Indeed, most of the plants that we consider iconic to South Florida are not native but transplants from elsewhere. Bougainvillea? It's a native of Mexico. Mangoes are originally from India. Even that most Floridian of fruits, oranges, are originally from China.