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.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday he plans to protect the environment if elected, including restoring the Everglades and ending algae blooms near Lake Okeechobee.

But he refused to explicitly state whether he believes in climate change. 

The former U.S. Rep. toured the Everglades in Broward County on an airboat to learn more about efforts to improve water flow through the National Park.

A year ago Hurricane Irma barreled into Everglades City. Everything in this remote southwest Florida fishing village that was not on stilts flooded.

Now the town is rebuilding in a state where a policy of climate change denial leaves coastal residents on their own to face the risks.

The water outside was chest high by the time Lisa Marteeny flung open the trailer door to flee with her husband Lee and their dog Killer.

On the Atrai River in the northwest of Bangladesh, a small beige boat is tied up in tall grass that lines the riverbank.

The interior of the boat is packed with narrow benches which in turn are jammed with children.

There are 29 students in this third-grade class and it would be hard to fit any more into the narrow vessel. The kids sit shoulder-to-shoulder facing a blackboard at the back of the boat.

When the teacher asks for a volunteer to recite a multiplication table, 8-year-old Nila Khatun's hand shoots straight toward the unpainted ceiling.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

California has established an ambitious goal of relying entirely on zero-emission energy sources for its electricity by the year 2045.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill mandating the electricity target on Monday. He also issued an executive order calling for statewide carbon neutrality — meaning California "removes as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it emits" — by the same year.

It appears that a noxious red tide algal bloom has reached one of Florida's main metropolitan areas. 

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

This year's first round of King Tides will be this weekend. These "highest of the high tides" flood low-lying areas of South Florida and can lead to road closures or damage to cars and homes.

A new survey asks South Florida residents whether they would consider moving because of flooding, which is projected to get worse as seas continue to rise.

Windsor Johnson / NPR

Climate change and equity will be in the spotlight Saturday evening at a rally in Miami's Bayfront Park.

On Florida's St. Lucie River, east of Lake Okeechobee, locks and a dam hold water before it races downstream to the estuary on what is known as Florida's Treasure Coast.

Courtesy of Jody Finver

Miami-Dade residents interested in installing solar panels can join a co-op this month that will help them through the process.

The organizers say the benefits of 'going solar' extend beyond reducing the carbon emissions that lead to climate change, global warming and sea-level rise.

"Is your roof creating your electricity?" asked Jody Finver, Miami-Dade coordinator for the Solar United Neighbors co-op. "If you can create it yourself, why would you pay somebody else?"

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Miami's new professional soccer team has a name and a crest that features two birds.

The birds, Great White Herons, are unique to South Florida. They even have a national wildlife refuge named after them. 

Scores of coastal research labs around the U.S. are helping communities plan for sea level rise. But now many are starting to flood themselves, creating a dilemma: stay by the coast and endure expensive flooding, or move inland, to higher ground, but away from their subject of study.

The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium lab is located along the state's fragile coast, about 80 miles southwest of New Orleans. The giant X-shaped building is at the end of a gravel road, surrounded by open water and grassy marshes.

Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

President Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have been reluctant to acknowledge the link between climate change and some of Florida's current environmental challenges, like King Tide flooding, stronger hurricanes and rising temperatures.

The vague warning jolted citizens in and around Salem, Oregon to attention on May 29.

"Civil Emergency in this area until 1128PM," read the text message alert. "Prepare for action."

It was a ham-handed message — one that left some wondering if an attack was imminent. In fact, the danger officials wanted to warn them about wasn't coming from the sky.

It was coming from their taps.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Almost a year after Hurricane Irma, cleaning up the Florida Keys is an ongoing project. A local volunteer group is tackling one of the most difficult tasks — removing all the stuff that got washed into the mangrove shorelines along the island chain.

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