February 2016, Volume 20, Number 1

Powerful Partnerships

Miami Tops Global Charts

We’re No. 1!

Those who live, study, work and play in Miami have known this for a long time. The region can’t be beat in so many ways, ranging from the vibrant arts scene and beautiful weather to the rich diversity of cultures.
But we’re also No. 1 in the nation in terms of our need to be resilient to climate change. With regard to assets vulnerable to rising seas, Miami ranks second worldwide, just after Guangzhou in China. In terms of population, Miami is fourth, right after Guangzhou, Shanghai and Mumbia in India. Grappling with this, county leaders have been rethinking urban, regional, transportation and economic planning for years. Helping them every step along the way have been workshops offered by MDC’s Earth Ethics Institute (EEI).
Most recently this fall at Wolfson Campus, EEI teamed with Tropical Audubon Society to offer an insightful three-day Environmental Leadership Summit. Led by more than 30 county and national experts, the summit was packed with keynote speakers, roundtable talks, service-learning projects for students, faculty development plans for professors and intellectual enrichment for members of the community. Among the sponsors were the Knight Foundation and nearly two dozen local partners.
The summit’s overarching theme focused on the recent county understanding that resiliency is tied to learning to live with water, re-thinking infrastructure and ensuring an equitable, heathy lifestyle for all residents in an effort to protect the region’s assets and unique resources.

Collaboration Draws on Local Brain Trust

  • The Earth Ethics Institute teamed with Tropical Audubon Society and numerous county organizations for the recent Environmental Leadership Summit at Wolfson Campus. Highlights of the three-day event included:
  • An overview of environmental leadership in county work to date, by Katy Sorenson, CEO of the Good Government Initiative, and Laura Reynolds, director of the Tropical Audubon Society
  • A look at green urban design and smart growth, with architects Jason King and Brian Lemmerman
  • A mind/body leadership class, by MDC Professor Carlos González Morales, a certified yoga instructor
  • An overview of solar energy generation options and an explanation of policy related to solar by George Cavros of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
  • The importance of coastal mangrove restoration, discussed by MDC Professor Dr. John Barimo, Nature Conservancy Conversation Director Dr. Greg Guannel and Chelle King, who directs Museum Volunteers for the Environment, better known as MuVE, which is a vital community endeavor at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science
  • The development of a sustainable local food system, with insights from Art Friedrich of the Urban Oasis Project and Chuck Lyons of Verde Farm
  • A report on efforts that already have been undertaken by the South Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, with Katherine Hagemann, Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability; Doug Yoder, Miami-Dade County Water & Sewer; and Kimberly Brown, Miami-Dade County Regulatory and Economic Resources Department
  • A re-visioning of community ecological health, social equity and prosperity, with a focus on the role of transportation, by Marta Viciedo of Urban Impact Lab, and the importance of active design, by architects Thorn Grafton and Brian Lemmerman
  • Coastal restoration at Virginia Key North Point, including a student service-learning project and faculty development workshop facilitated by Gary Milano, Fernando Bretos and Chelle King

Community Partners

Joining the Earth Ethics Institute and MDC to sponsor the three-day summit were:

Beefree+ Media
Blackbird Ordinary
Carlton Fields – Jorden Burt 
Coffey|Burlington – Attorneys at Law
Emerge Miami
Everglades Foundation
Everglades Law Center Inc.
Greenberg Traurig
Knight Foundation
Miami’s Community Newspapers
NLC – New Leaders Council Miami
Sierra Club
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Together Green – Act Today, Shape Tomorrow
Tropical Audubon Society
uel.org – Urban Environment League
Urban Oasis Project

For a fuller overview of the summit, see tinyurl.com/EEIresilient.


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