environmental protection

Environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging plans to widen roadways in primary habitat for the endangered Florida panther, the official state animal.

This week on Florida Matters, we share some of our favorite discussions about plants, animals and environmental challenges facing our state.

Picture, for a second, just how vast New York City is. All told, including Staten Island, the Bronx and every block in between, the massive metropolis takes up more than 300 square miles. Now, try to picture a hunk of land more than 12 times that size.

That's about how much of the Amazon rainforest was destroyed in just the span of a year, according to Brazilian authorities.

Ellis Rua / Associated Press

Florida’s Republican lawmakers are looking at new ways to address climate change in the state.  It’s part of a shift in policy when it comes to addressing environmental issues.  The sea change comes as younger republicans ditch old policies, which included not even using the words climate change.

Updated 11:20 a.m. ET Saturday

French President Emmanuel Macron is calling on world leaders to place the massive fires destroying Brazil's Amazon rainforest at the top of their agenda as they gather in France's southwest for the Group of Seven summit.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary / NOAA

It's been more than 20 years since the last comprehensive plan to manage the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Now the sanctuary is releasing a restoration blueprint that will include four alternatives for protecting the coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass flats around the Keys, from Key Largo to the Dry Tortugas.

In a move that critics say will hurt plants, animals and other species as they face mounting threats, the Trump administration is making major changes to how the Endangered Species Act is implemented. The U.S. Department of Interior on Monday announced a suite of long-anticipated revisions to the nation's premier wildlife conservation law, which is credited with bringing back the bald eagle and grizzly bears, among other species.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

The sparkling waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary help pump $4.4 billion into the state's economy while supporting 43,000 jobs, according to a report published Tuesday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Across South Florida, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of the big lizard.

At their yearly gathering to talk about invasive species this week, more than 200 scientists from universities, state and federal agencies and national parks said the spike in big lizard sightings has caught them by surprise. In addition to green iguanas and tegus, nile monitor lizards, water monitors, spiny-tailed iguanas and rhinoceros iguana appear to be spreading.

France plans to put an "ecotax" on nearly all airline flights starting in 2020, French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said Tuesday. The new tax could bring in some $200 million annually that would support modes of travel that pollute less — such as trains.

"With the eco-contribution, air transport will play its part in financing the daily transport of all our citizens," Borne said via Twitter. She added, "It is a response to the ecological urgency and sense of injustice expressed by the French."

Didier Noirot / OceanX

Impacts from climate change, overfishing and poor water quality continue to destroy Florida's coral reefs. The conservation nonprofit OceanX has launched a mission focused on conserving and documenting the reefs.

beach clean up
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

More than 300 beachgoers in Hollywood spent their Saturday morning cleaning up trash from the sand as a part of the second annual Free Our Seas And Beyond Environmental Art Festival. 

Hosted by Nova Southeastern University and the nonprofit Free Our Seas, the festival hoped to get people out to celebrate Earth Day a few days early and learn more about threats to marine ecosystems in South Florida. 

 

Adrianne Gonzalez / WLRN News

In a Miami-Dade courtroom, Judge Spencer Eig heard arguments Thursday both for and against a controversial development planned on an environmentally rare Pine Rocklands habitat in South Miami-Dade, near Zoo Miami.