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.

Courtesy of Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management

On this Thursday, Feb. 20, episode of Sundial:

Environmental reporter moderates presidential debate

The Democratic presidential debate in Nevada was moderated by its first climate journalist, Vanessa Hauc. 

"The Democratic field takes [climate change] very seriously," Hauc says. "Right now, we have a clear understanding of what is happening to our planet."

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Coping with storm surge fueled by rising seas in the Keys means elevating homes, buyouts in vulnerable areas, protecting important places like hospitals and wastewater plants and stabilizing parts of the Overseas Highway that could get washed out in storms.

‘Invisible Oil’ From Deepwater Horizon Spill May Have Reached The Florida Keys

Feb 19, 2020
US Coast Guard / AP

Florida Keys residents may not have seen massive tar balls and fish kills after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but small concentrations of toxic crude were still reaching the islands and potentially harming marine life, as the extent of the deadly disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was worse than originally thought, according to a University of Miami study.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Monday he is committing $10 billion to fight climate change, which he calls "the biggest threat to our planet."

Bezos says the funds will go toward the creation of the Bezos Earth Fund.

Lydia Bell / Greenpeace

It’s called “the plastic monster.” The 15-foot sculpture made of plastic bags, bottles, and packaging visited the state Capitol in Tallahassee earlier this month and has stopped in Publix parking lots throughout the state. Now, the monster is part of an effort by Greenpeace to bring attention to single-use plastics, the companies that use them and legislative efforts to prohibit local governments from banning certain plastic products.

 

Study: Florida Keys May Have Suffered From Deepwater Horizon Spill

Feb 14, 2020
McClatchy

Florida Keys residents may not have seen massive tar balls and fish kills after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but small concentrations of toxic crude were still reaching the islands and potentially harming marine life, as the extent of the deadly disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was worse than originally thought, according to a University of Miami study.

North Atlantic right whales – already the most endangered large whale species in the world – are becoming even more at risk as rising sea temperatures make it harder to find food or safe waters.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

The coronavirus is affecting the local economy through important local industries, like tourism. It's also having a severe impact on another industry — commercial fishing.

Courtesy of Craig Pittman

In the opening scene of this month’s Sundial Book Club pick, “Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther” by Craig Pittman, hunters in the Everglades chase down a panther shooting tranquilizer darts.

They catch the animal. “I started with the most dramatic scene,” Pittman says.

Andrew Bruckner / NOAA

Scientists investigating a devastating new coral disease infecting reefs from Florida to and throughout the Caribbean may be zeroing in on a culprit behind the unpredictable spread: ballast water from big ships.

Investigators are now poring over shipping records housed at the Smithsonian to confirm the connection and better contain it.

Gerard Albert III / WLRN

Jose Melendez, who lives in San Francisco, was visiting Miami about a week before the Super Bowl. He said he’s planning to cheer on his team from afar.

“I’m not going. I can’t afford it. It’s too expensive,” he said with a laugh, wearing a bright red 49ers jersey at the Super Bowl LIVE Experience, a free festival that the local host committee organized.

 

Gerard Albert / WLRN

As the Super Bowl approaches on Feb. 2, a more South Florida sports match ended Saturday, recognizing veteran and amateur python hunters.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The Environmental Protection Agency is dramatically reducing the amount of U.S. waterways that get federal protection under the Clean Water Act — a move that is welcomed by many farmers, builders and mining companies but is opposed even by the agency's own science advisers.

http://miamisearise.com/

Several Florida students are continuing a legal fight over climate change inaction. They're suing the governor and other state lawmakers for not doing enough about climate change. They claim their future is in jeopardy.

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

Invasive iguanas burrowing into the soft dirt around an aging dam cost a Florida city $1.8 million in emergency repairs.

Employees noticed last year that water was seeping round the edges of a decades-old weir that controls water delivery in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Post reported.

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