Tuesday March 5, 2013
Seems too good to be true. I need to watch this one again and try to figure out where it’s broken.
Tuesday April 8, 2008
I picked up a copy of Biscayne Times the other day, and found a piece on Miami guerrilla gardening group Tree-0-5, which plants impromptu gardens in abandoned lots. Of course the group was started by Rag Trade’s Stephanie, so there’s another reason to be bummed out that she’s leaving town.
Monday February 11, 2008
Restoration of Mangrove forests at Virginia Key [Photo: Al Diaz, Herald].
Thursday December 13, 2007
The South Florida Water Management District is working on ranking the priorities of various elements of the Everglades restoration project, so that they’ll be ready as the budget of the program gets slashed. How’s that half-full glass looking, there? (And speaking of whom, we have a Rick sighting.)
Wednesday December 5, 2007
Everglades National Park celebrates its 60th anniversary tomorrow. As we pointed out a couple of weeks ago, the restoration of the park is in serious turmoil, and the latest is that the Army Corps of Engineers are trying all sorts of tactics to get elected officials to pony up the necessary money.
There is a lesson here about green accounting, and the true cost of the choices that we make as a society. Unfortunately we are not yet at a point of looking realistically at this stuff. Alas, our choices now are to bite the bullet or to let the wilting of the ‘glades continue (I’m looking at you, piss-on-the-UDB Miami-Dade commission). I hope we choose right and make Marjory proud. Anywho, I stopped by last weekend and got this photo.
Wednesday November 14, 2007
The restoration of the Everglades is way behind schedule, and faltering, mainly because federal funding has dried up. The only presidential candidate to mention the Everglades has been Fred Thompson, and that was to say he might allow oil drilling there. Meanwhile, Central Florida farmers just missed their first phosphorus reduction target in 11 years. (via TM)
Tuesday October 9, 2007
Wednesday August 29, 2007
Ft. Lauderdale is going to supplement it’s eroding beaches with grains of recycled glass. (via MiamiNights)
Wednesday August 15, 2007
Environmentalists are up in arms about Cypress mulch. They say coastal Cypress forests are being wiped out to produce it, endangering humans while clearing old-growth forests (yes, the video trots out images of Katrina-devastated New Orleans). Meanwhile, the stores selling the mulch claim that the mulch is created from the parts of trees that can’t be used for lumber, that the trees would be cut down anyway, and that regardless the logging is being done in a sustainable fashion.
Unfortunately, neither side has much credibility. Let’s try to sort this out. A recent AP article on the issue notes that the drop in area of Cypress forests is probably a result of changes in mapping techniques. That can be read to mean that they don’t know whether the forests are contracting (hey, nice work there, forestry dudes). Florida Today has a good article, which noted that most of the good Cypress was cut down over a hundred years ago anyway (go read — it’s the best overview of the issue).
The commonsense presumption is that if loggers are planting Cypress as fast as they’re cutting them down, everything should be fine (this could be ensured, btw, by strictly limiting the area they’re allowed to log). Are they? This strikes me as a good opportunity for an enterprising young journalist — we need some real answers.
I did my own investigation down at Home Depot, and sure enough, Cypress mulch is cheaper then other options. $1.67 gets you a 2-cubic-foot bag, vs. $2 for “Red Mulch,” $2.57 for Pine Bark nugget mulch, $2.95 for Eucalyptus mulch, $4.99 for fancy chemical-treated stuff. The Eucalyptus stuff makes pretty strong “Environmentally friendly / produced from plantation growth,” claims. If you’re covering 100 square feet, it’ll cost you an extra $12 over the Cypress stuff, so if you’re concerned about the environment it shouldn’t be a big deal to error on the side of caution. Real answers would be welcome, however.
Tuesday July 10, 2007
“A congressional group concerned about the effects of climate change will make a proposal in Congress to combat rising sea levels by making the oceans deeper.” Just silly.
Monday June 18, 2007
Seems like forever since you’ve seen a mosquito? Here’s why: Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, their populations drop during drought. The bad news: the eggs don’t die — they just accumulate, and wait for the water to come back, which in case you haven’t noticed, it has. Please to be expecting a major spike in the mosquito population, and mosquito-related illness. Yikes!
Thursday March 15, 2007
Water restrictions go into effect March 22. But nice people start early on this. In fact, nice people don’t water their lawn during the dry season!
Tuesday March 13, 2007
It wasn’t always this way, but Miami-Dade has an abysmal tree canopy. The usual scapegoats are Hurricane Andrew and the Citrus Canker eradication program, but the former was 15 years ago, and the latter included cash reimbursements, so the more likely culprit is neglect and apathy. County-wide, the tree canopy is somewhere around 10% (the equivalent of 5 large trees per acre), one of the worst in the nation.
Now comes the City of Miami’s Tree Master Plan, proposed by Manny Diaz in February. I got a copy, and I also talked to Stephanie N. Grindell, the City’s director of Public Works, who had a hand in writing the plan. Here are the highlights:
- The goal is to have 30% tree canopy coverage by 2020
- The city spends up to $1,000 per tree for planting and first-year maintenance, which is why public/private partnerships are the great hope of the plan
- The study aspect: American Forests will conduct a study for the city and county to determine exactly what we have now, and where it’s headed (they’ll look at historical satellite images from 1995, 2001, and 2006)
- The tracking aspect: each new tree planted will be recorded
- The marketing aspect: public service announcements and “community forester workshops” will encourage public tree planting
- Two words: “hurricane horticulture” (translation: plant native tree species that are resistant to strong winds)
- There is something called an Urban Forestry Working Group, a subset of the Miami Green Commission, which worked with city staff in creating the plan
- A Tree Trust Fund was established in 2004, but is just now really being implemented. The fund has $638,000, and 80% of it is supposed to be used annually on tree replacement (money from the fund comes from tree-related code violation fines)
- The city will hire a code-enforcement officer focusing only on tree-related issues
- They’ll also have certified arborists supervising plantings and other projects
But yadda-yadda — here’s the whole plan (.doc) for those interested. And now for the bad news. First of all, the plan uses wishy-washy language throughout. Not “the city will have 30% tree canopy coverage by 2020,” but “The plan . . . will be used as a framework to coordinate efforts to restore and enhance the City’s tree canopy with a goal of a minimum of 30% . . .” (emphasis added). “It is the city’s goal to have a certified arborist . . .” and so on.
Maybe that’s just how public documents are written. What’s worse is that the 30% goal is actually low. American Forests itself recommends 40% coverage for cities everywhere except the dry Southwest (in which we ain’t). And in its two years of existence, 80% of the Tree Trust Fund has not been spent on tree replacement; in fact the program is just now really getting going (Ms. Grindell chuckled when I asked about the plan before explaining).
Don’t get me wrong — it’s great that there’s a plan, and it’s not too late. But it is too little. There’s some indication of City/County partnership in this thing. I say let’s get our new strong county mayor involved, and adapt the plan to the whole county. And let’s set a hard goal, not a soft one. And let’s go for the 40% — flying over Miami in the 1980’s was like flying over a forest (ok, sort of), and it can be like that again.
Thanks to Steve for the American Forests link.
Wednesday February 14, 2007
Rebecca hung out on South Beach over Superbowl weekend, and was appalled by the trash:
Several companies were giving out free drinks on Ocean Drive – bottles of water, energy drinks, etc. . . . But come on – not enough trash cans and no recycling? If you allow these companies to set up on the street and hand out products, require them to have recycling bins and a plan to get them recycled!
It’s a great point. But there’s another question worth asking: why aren’t recycling cans ubiquitous here? Look at that can above. It’s like a regular garbage can from the side, but inside it’s divided up into three compartments, each with its own bag: paper, plastic, and everything else. Cans like this are all over Europe, and they work.
We’ve gotten pretty lax about recycling in general, eh? I mean, the county is planning to get rid of curbside recycling. On the other hand, there’s a sea change happening in the country about global warming, and maybe there’ll be some spillover effect and our fair leaders will reawaken to the benefits of recycling. I say let’s get the triple cans in high-traffic pedestrian zones like South Beach, and incorporate it into Miami 21.
Wednesday November 15, 2006
I’m glad to see that our decade-long (+) experiment with recycling is finally coming to an end. Obviously it was a stupid idea from the get-go, thinking that ordinary people could be bothered to separate their recyclables from their garbage. Update: Liveblogging the workshop: “Sejias: This was meant to be an all day workshop and we are now just two commissioners. Sometimes I’m here all by myself.“ So it’s official — nobody cares.
Thursday November 2, 2006
How to recycle phone books. Fine, but how do you get them to stop delivering them in the first place? There are stacks of phone books in the hallway of my apartment building that nobody wants. Why would they, when it takes a fraction of a second to find any phone number on Google?
Wednesday October 18, 2006
Pathetic: not a single building in Miami-Dade is green. “Miami Mayor Manny Diaz is considering incorporating green elements in Miami 21, the city’s new building and zoning blueprint, and requiring that new city buildings are LEED certified. Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson has pushed the county to require sustainable building for any facilities it owns, operates or finances.”
Thursday April 6, 2006
It’s taken a long-ass time, but Yellow Arrow [made me download a new version of Flash] finally has some traction in Miami, with 128 arrows (this one is on the sidewalk on Lenox Ave on the Beach). Yellow Arrow started in NYC years ago.
The basic idea is that you use the arrows to tag stuff in the real world (can’t be private property) with arrows you get from the site, and link the unique code on the arrow to your comment about the thing. Others who come across the arrow can get your comment by SMS from their cell. I can’t link to the specific pages on the site (drat that flash!) but poke around.
Tracking these down can’t possibly be worth the effort, but they’re definitely something to be on the lookout for. Better yet, plant some of your own – you order the arrows for 50 cents a piece, and you can do the whole thing from a cell, out in the real world.