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.

It was a lifesaving mission as dramatic as any in the months-long battle against the wildfires that have torn through the Australian bush.

But instead of a race to save humans or animals, a specialized team of Australian firefighters was bent on saving invaluable plant life: hidden groves of the Wollemi pine, a prehistoric tree species that has outlived the dinosaurs.

The 60-day Florida legislative session that begins Tuesday will have lawmakers considering everything from coconut patties to a state budget expected to exceed $90 billion.

Lawmakers are also expected to address abortion rights, private gun sales and environmental issues such as the rise in sea level.

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

Sea Rise Is Making Fort Lauderdale's Sewage Leaks Worse

Jan 9, 2020
Daniel A. Varela / Miami Herald

Fort Lauderdale is soaked in waste after six sewage spills from decaying pipes dumped more than 126 million gallons of raw sewage directly into nearby rivers and canals over the last few weeks. That’s about the volume of 191 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

But something important has been lost in the stinking mess: Most of it isn’t actually poop or other flushed stuff. More than half of the volume flowing through the city’s crumbling sewage infrastructure is actually groundwater seeping in through the many, many cracks and holes in the aging system.

South Beach Jazz Festival

Happy New Year Sundialers, here’s a rundown of the Thursday, Jan. 2, episode of Sundial:

Tampa Bay Times’ Investigation Looks At The ‘Baker Act’

The Tampa Bay Times recently released an investigation about the ‘Baker Act,’ the Florida law that allows families to involuntarily institutionalize people considered impaired because of mental illness. The investigation revealed that the law is impacting children as young as 6 throughout Florida. 

NOAA

Hurricane Dorian stands out as one of the biggest news stories of 2019.

The ominous Category 5 storm threatened South Florida for days. While the region escaped its destruction, the storm stalled over the northern Bahamas, scouring the islands with high winds and storm surge.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

Vanilla has an undeserved reputation for being blah, as in plain vanilla, the flavor for people who consider chocolate too daring.

The truth is a vanilla bean is an exotic thing — the only edible fruit of the orchid family — and an essential ingredient in a host of everyday favorites as well as holiday treats, from Christmas cookies to Hanukkah sufganiyot (fried donuts) to coquito, Miami’s superior upgrade of egg nog.

Miami Herald archives

A $1.4 trillion spending package signed by President Donald Trump includes a holiday gift for the Everglades: $200 million.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Congress has passed two spending bills to fund the federal government. President Donald Trump is expected to sign them, avoiding a shutdown.

One provision in those bills is a reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program. With the president's approval, the program will be extended through Sept. 30, 2020.

Michal Kranz / WLRN

Federal and state officials are trying to strike a balance between conservation and public access to South Florida waters.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission agreed Thursday to back tighter fishing limits in Biscayne National Park, where fish populations have dwindled.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

Sixteen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg has quickly risen to prominence with her clarion call for climate action and Time's naming her its 2019 Person of the Year this week.

Since her first school strike for action in August 2018, Thunberg has grown her protest into a global youth movement calling on the world leaders of today to take decisive action on climate change and prevent further global warming.

Greta Thunberg, the activist who has quickly become a leading voice on climate change, is Time's Person of the Year for 2019. At 16, she is the youngest person to earn the title in the magazine's 92-year history.

Thunberg burst onto the world stage in the past year, organizing school strikes and protest marches to call attention to a climate crisis that she says older generations are not taking seriously enough.

NOAA

Florida has an underappreciated secret weapon to help heal its ailing reefs: prickly sea urchins.

AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD

Plans for a statewide office focused on rising sea levels and more electronic-vehicle charging stations along Florida highways are moving forward in the Senate, as Republicans have become more open to addressing climate change and emissions issues.

A. Neufeld / Coral Reef Restoration Foundation

For decades, most of the news about coral reefs has been pretty gloomy. Now the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is launching a new mission to bring back a few of those reefs.

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