Environment

In South Florida, where the Everglades meet the bays, environmental challenges abound. Sea level rise threatens homes and real estate. Invasive species imperil native plants and animals. Pesticides reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, but at what cost? 

WLRN's award-winning environment reporting strives to capture the color and complexity of human interaction with one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet.

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Like many young professionals, 30-year-old Chad Scott had second thoughts about his job.

He was a CPA with accounting giant Ernest & Young for more than six years before becoming an internal auditor with Miami-based Burger King International. But something was missing.

"I wanted a life I could live without anxiety," said the Pembroke Pines native, recalling all the times he was chained to a desk during tax season and wouldn't see the sun for days.

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Even before last year's coastal calamity caused by superstorm Sandy, Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs was trying to get everyone's attention about sea-level rise and it's impact on South Florida.

She's one of the founding members of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, a multi-county effort to help local governments plan ahead. Jacobs is a longtime county commissioner serving a second one-year term as mayor, a largely ceremonial role.

Patdaversa / Flickr Creative Commons

The roseate spoonbill -- often mistaken by confused tourists for the non-native flamingo -- is one of Florida's great iconic species. Dubbed "one of the most breathtaking of the world's weirdest birds" by naturalist Roger Tory Peterson, the gangly creatures are an increasingly rare sight in South Florida. 

According to a feature in the May-June issue of Audubon Magazine, spoonbills have been vacating South Florida in droves, heading north to more hospitable (read: often less developed) lands.

What does it take to find guilt-free coffee?

Much of our coffee comes from places where the environment is endangered and workers earn very little — sometimes, just a few dollars for a whole day's work. Coffee farmers have helped cut down tropical forests, and most of them use pesticides.

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04/22/13 - Monday’s Topical Currents looks at environmental technology with the author of POWERING THE DREAM:  The History and Promise of Green Technology.  Energy innovation began in earnest some 150 years ago.  Geo-thermal heating was used in Idaho in 1892, while windmills irrigated the Great Plains and watered livestock.

Michael Lorenzo / stock.xchang

As today is Earth Day, a few Miami chefs chimed in on how they try to reduce waste or recycle at their restaurants.

Jen Chaefsky, owner and general manager of Macchialina:

“Our water glasses are made out of recycled wine bottles. It’s something small, but every little bit helps; plus it’s a cool element that guests love to learn about.”

Sam Gorenstein, chef and owner of My Ceviche:

“When you contaminate the water, you contaminate yourself,” explains science teacher Bertha Vazquez to her students at Miami’s George Washington Carver Middle School. “You’re part of an ecosystem.”

Since 1991, Vazquez has taught students what they can do to save the planet through an integrated curriculum that weaves together science, human behavior and facts about climate change.

toki-doki / Flickr Creative Commons

Tough economic times put environmental issues on the Florida Legislature's back burner in recent years, but this session should be different, according to Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater), who sat on the panel at Monday night's Town Hall Session 2013 hosted by WLRN and the Miami Herald

Three Miami Thinkers Take On Beavers At The End Of The World

Jan 31, 2013
Photo by Melissa Memory

In 1946, a bizarre cargo shipment stopped over at the Pan American Airlines headquarters in Miami. En route to Tierra del Fuego, the southern most tip of South America, fifty North American Beavers were temporarily housed in a walk-in refrigerator maintained by the airline. The door of the fridge, however, was made of wood.

This is oversight at its worst; Beavers in a prison made of wood.

FlickR/mattk1979

Corals are not as visible as panthers, manatees or dolphins.  But scientists say they deserve just as much protection -- and respect -- as other animals beloved by Floridians. 

The National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed extending federal protection to 66 species of coral, including seven local species that scientists say are nearing extinction.

Bird Photos That Defy Time And Space

Jan 9, 2013

According to legend, when asked "Why birds?" photographer Eliot Porter replied as if it were obvious: "Because they fly."

But wait! Don't dismiss these as "bird photos." First, it helps to know just how difficult it is to capture a bird in flight — especially on film. It's also good to know how special it was to be photographing in color in the 1940s, and how onerous it is to make one's own dye-transfer prints.

Vlabed/Flickr

Breeding numbers were down for some bird species for the third straight year in a row in the Everglades.

Nesting numbers for wading birds fell by 38 percent compared to the past decade. That's according to an annual survey compiled by the South Florida Water Management District.

Brian Henderson/Flickr

Next time you go to the Everglades you'll have the option to pick up an anti-vulture kit.

The park is offering the kits so people can protect their cars against vultures during the winter months. The black vultures sometimes rip the rubber and vinyl parts--such as windshield wipers and sunroof seals--off of cars.

Why The Woodstork Is Leaving The Everglades

Dec 19, 2012
Kenneth Cole Schneider

Florida’s only wading bird on the endangered species list, the wood stork, is on the mend.  From a low of about 2,500 nesting pairs in most of South and Central Florida in 1984, the bird has since grown to around 7,000 to 9,000 nesting pairs. 

But it doesn't mean all is well with the Everglades.

edline.net

One of Palm Beach County's oldest public schools is hoping to become one of Florida's greenest.

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