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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.

Diverse Concerns, Halloween Costumes Highlight Miami Climate Rally

What do climate change and Halloween have in common?


They're both pretty scary, according to people at a climate rally Sunday in downtown Miami.


About 200 people attended rally outside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center -- a smaller crowd than the thousands organizers had predicted, possibly because of traffic snags from the Miami Ironman race. But what the event lacked in size, it made up for with the diversity of issues represented. And the creative ways rally-goers highlighted their particular issues.


Artist Sarah Younger showed her frustration with Republican political candidates, by creating 3-foot-tall papier mâché monster heads that she and others wore. She portrayed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as "Trumpenstein," a Frankenstein-inspired monster "who has erupted out of the shenanigans on the national stage;" and represented Senator Marco Rubio as a vampire, "Draco Rubio."


"I call him Draco because he along with Big Sugar are siphoning all the fresh water out of South Florida," Younger said.


Other attendees focused on climate gentrification: the idea that low-income people who live on high ground will be forced out of their homes as sea levels -- and property values -- rise. Camilo Mejía, one of the rally organizers, said he's especially concerned about Little Haiti, Overtown, Little Haiti and West Coconut Grove.


"Projects being built along these higher elevation areas are not exactly taking into that people already live in those areas," he said. "The infrastructure they're building is for a certain clientele that is more affluent, that can afford to pay a million dollars for an apartment in a tower."


Liberty City resident Paulette Richards agreed. Changing climate "is an additional compound in a situation that is already stressful," she said. 


Also at issue was Amendment 1, a proposed addition to Florida's constitution that would potentially keep solar energy users from selling extra electricity by limiting consumers to generating electricity "for their own use." Opponents of the amendment say it would also allow utility companies to charge solar users extra for connecting to the power grid.


Rally participants expressed disgust with the amendment's misleading language and its "political jiu-jitsu" -- the phrase used by a pro-amendment expert to describe how it's been represented to the public.Amendment 1 will be on the ballot this Election Day.


WLRN's complete Election Day guide, including more details on Amendment 1, is available here.


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