Salon Urban Cholesterol – January 17

A multimedia DASS Salon to address critical issues downtown Miami residents confront daily: traffic congestion, walkability, and other urban cholesterol symptoms, and how to fix them.

The Panelists:


  • Victor Dover is the author of the influential book STREET DESIGN: the Secret to Great Cities and Towns. He is cofounder of Dover, Kohl & Partners Town Planning, and a design practice focused on restoring healthy neighborhoods as the basis for sound communities. He is a former Chair of the Congress for New Urbanism and lead designer of more than 150 neighborhoods, urban revitalization programs across the United States and abroad.
  • Martin Mittner is a professor of gaming and virtual reality at Miami Dade College. Prof. Mittner has extensive exerience with city simulation in video games, pursuing different techniques for accurately modeling the movement of city populations in a virtual world, including traffic patterns.
  • Ken Russell is City of Miami Commissioner, representing District 2, which includes Downtown. Commissioner Russell is quite savvy about urban issues and most importantly, will add his input as to applicability. He is also a candidate for the US Congress.

DATE: Wednesday, January 17, 2018
TIME: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EST
LOCATION: DASS at the LOFT 2, 133 Northeast 2nd Avenue, Community Room, Miami, FL 33132

Downtown Arts + Science Salon (DASS)

Modeled after Ted Talks and a local social club, we host salons ranging from archaeology and cardiology to urban planning and psychology, from the novel to the opera. And stuff like fencing, wine-tasting and tango. DASS Salons take place at Downtown iconic cultural venues.

Drill Baby Drill

The Trump administration proposes to open 25 of the 26 “offshore planning areas” to oil drilling over the next 5 years. This includes all of Florida’s coastline, including the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Straits adjacent to the Florida Keys National Marine Preserve. There is a 25-mile proposed buffer zone between the coasts and the “offshore planning areas”, but that will be little consolation in the event of a spill. Deepwater Horizon’s spill covered 68,000 square miles (180,000 km2) of the Gulf of Mexico in oil, polluting 1,100 miles (1,770 km) of shoreline in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida; killing wildlife (including endangered species) by the  hundreds of thousands.

The U.S. Department of the Interior “National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024” under Ryan Zinke would auction 47 drilling rights leases in more than 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf. Many of the areas have been “off limits” since the 1980’s due, in part, to the risk for endangered ecosystems. The last offshore lease sale for the East Coast of the lower 48 was in 1983; and 1984 for West Coast. As Bloomberg put it, “the plan is unprecedented in its scope; no prior administration has ever proposed so many lease sales in a single five-year offshore drilling program.” The only area exempt from drilling under this plan would be North Aleutian Basin in Alaska

“The administration’s backward-looking approach puts oil and gas profits first — and will place our coastal communities and all they support at risk of the next BP-style disaster,” said Natural Resources Defense Council President Rhea Suh, referring to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “We’ll stand with leaders of vision, business owners and fishing families on every coast to protect our oceans and shores.”

Zinke, who previously served on the board of oil pipeline company, QS Energy, and has routinely voted “in opposition to environmentalists on issues including coal extraction and oil and gas drilling“, is clearly ignoring the first part of of the Department of the Interior’s mission statement: Protecting America’s Great Outdoors and Powering Our Future.

At last count, all three governors on the U.S. west coast – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown – oppose expanded offshore drilling. Likewise, the governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida all oppose the proposed 2019-2024 National OCS Program.

Georgia governor, Nathan Deal (R), has not yet taken a public position. Maine’s Paul LePage is the only governor who is openly supporting the plan, and he’s… well… LePage.

Citing concerns about tourism industry, coastal economy, and protection of natural resources hundreds of municipalities, state attorneys general and other elected officials have voiced their opposition. In Florida, in addition to Governor Rick Scott (R), Senator Bill Nelson (D), Senator Marco Rubio (R), Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine (D), City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell (D) are a few quoted as against the proposal in recent days.

Even the U.S. military has “warned against allowing oil rigs near the Florida shore due to concerns they could interfere with F-35 fighter training maneuvers”, according to Politico

“This radical offshore drilling free-for-all is a clear example of politics over people, ignoring widespread local and state opposition,” said Diane Hoskins, a campaign director for the marine conservation group Oceana. “The Trump administration’s plan not only ignores the risky nature of dirty and dangerous drilling, but also the people and coastal businesses who would be most affected.”

The just released proposal is the first step to creating a new 5-year five-year schedule (2019 to 2024) for selling offshore oil leases to replace President Obama’s plan that was to run from 2017 to 2022. The proposal is now supposed to undergo environmental analysis, and will be open to public comment starting on January 16th. The Trump administration wants to finalize a sale schedule by the end of this year.

Public meetings will be held around the country starting on January 16, 2018, to receive comments on the DPP and to inform the Draft Programmatic EIS. Specific dates, times, and venues will be posted on BOEM’s website at

In spite of the loud and immediate bipartisan opposition, given the recent corruption of our public comments system on other matters such as “Net Neutrality” and the clear anti-environment slant of this administration, I must admit to feeling deeply pessimistic about the outcome of this “National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024” proposal.


U.S. Department of the Interior press releaseSecretary Zinke Announces Plan For Unleashing America’s Offshore Oil and Gas Potential, January 4, 2018

Bureau of Ocean Management,  2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program

Politico, Trump aims to open California, Florida, Atlantic waters for oil drilling, January 4, 2018

Time, President Trump Seeks to Open Most U.S. Coastal Waters to Oil Drilling, January 4, 2018

Bloomberg, Trump Seeks to Open Most U.S. Coastal Waters to New Drilling, January 4, 2018

Historic Resources as Green Infrastructure

Miami Beach’s Art Deco district is a testament to the benefits (and beauty) of historic preservation. At the same time, increasing flooding events is forcing Miami Beach to address climate change and sustainability in a way that many cities aren’t. On Sunday, January 14, from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., the The Wolfsonian-Florida International University campus on Miami Beach is hosting a panel discussion: Historic Resources as Green Infrastructure: Advancing Miami Beach’s Sustainable Development.

Join a panel discussion moderated by Laura Weinstein-Berman centered around the benefits of historic resources to municipal sustainability initiatives and policies. An expert panel will present their interdisciplinary perspectives on achieving the status of a model sustainable city, while honoring Miami Beach’s architectural heritage. Laura is an architect with The Vagabond Group and manages MDPL’s newly formed Center for Resiliency and Sustainability. She is a Miami Beach resident and recently completed her Master’s in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, where she earned Faculty Honors.


Panelists include: Richard Heisenbottle, FAIA, President, R.J. Heisenbottle Architects, P.A.; Christine Rupp, Executive Director, Dade Heritage Trust; and Susanne Torriente, Assistant City Manager & Chief Resilience Officer, City of Miami Beach.

The event is FREE, and you can register at Eventbrite.

Date:  Sunday, January 14, 2018
Time: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm EST
Location: The Wolfsonian-Florida International University, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Event organizers: by Dade Heritage Trust Miami, Art Deco Weekend, Center for Resiliency & Sustainability at Miami Design Preservation League, Miami Design Preservation League, The Wolfsonian-FIU Art Museum

Citizen Science Workday – January 20 – Virginia Key Beach North Point Park

Start your year off on a green note by volunteering for science and for the environment. On January 20, from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is hosting a Citizen Science Workday at Virginia Key Beach North Point Park.

Join Frost Science as we work on several citizen science activities at the Virginia Key Beach North Point Park restoration site including:

  • Marine Debris Cleanup: Volunteers collect trash from the beach and log each item using Marine Debris Tracker, a free smartphone and tablet app.
  • Biodiversity Monitoring: Volunteers observe newly planted trees throughout our restoration site as well as observing native wildlife. Observations may be logged with – another smartphone app.
  • Invasive Plant Documentation and Removal: Invasive plants will be removed from the site to make way for native vegetation.

Taking place on the second Saturday of each month, Citizen Science Workdays are excellent opportunities to make an immediate impact on the environment by investing your time in one of our several restoration projects. Volunteers must only commit to a single workday at a time but can choose to do so regularly. Registration is required.


Parking Instructions: Enter Virginia Key Mountain Bike Park Trails in your GPS. Park at large lot adjacent to waste treatment plant.

Saving Miami with Jack Black & Years of Living Dangerously

Miami could be underwater by the end of the century if nothing is done to curb emissions.

Delaney Reynolds and Jack Black (photo courtesy

Jack Black and the #YearsProject are trending again following the December 22 YouTube release of this video short: “Saving Miami”. It is a compilation of clips from Season 2, episode 2: “Years of Living Dangerously: Gathering Storm”, which aired on the National Geographic Channel November 2, 2016.

YEARS of LIVING DANGEROUSLY combines the blockbuster storytelling styles of Hollywood’s top movie makers, including James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub, with the investigative skills of 60 Minutes veterans Joel Bach and David Gelber and a team of leading national news journalists and scientists.

An Emmy Award winning documentary television series, each episode is focused on a different aspect of climate change in different parts of the world. Celebrity hosts “with a history of environmental activism” narrate their segments and interview local experts. In Jack Black’s “Saving Miami,” he talks with South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, along with Miami architect Reinaldo Borges, University of Miami’s Dr. Harold Wanless and Professor Ben Kirtman, Florida Atlantic University’s Dr. Keren BolterNicole Hernandez Hammer, and the ever impressive Delaney Reynolds

Mayor Philip K. Stoddard and Jack Black (photo courtesy: Years of Living Dangerously)

Jon Meyersohn, who produced and directed this episode, was interviewed by Kate Stein for WLRN:

He says Miami was an immediate choice because people from across the country and the world move there and visit there.


“Everybody has an opinion about Miami or they’ve been to Miami or they have a relative who goes there,” he said. “It’s just the most fun place to be in the United States.”


And because the city’s well-known and embraced, it’s a good starting point to attract national attention to climate change.


Meyersohn described Miami as “ground zero” for climate change. He says that in contrast with cities like Boston and New York, where a lot of attention’s paid to climate change, Miami and Florida have a history of denial — notably among developers and state leaders like Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio.


“You have a massive amount of building, sea level rise, political denial. And, denial based on the fact that you have not had a major storm in more than 10 years,” he said.


Meyersohn said he and his team were encouraged that people here are getting involved in combating climate change. They interviewed a lot of them — activists, researchers, local officials and residents. One takeaway?


Because Miami’s so beloved, “it’s particularly hard to deliver a message like, oh, this place is sinking,” Meyersohn said.

The full episode of “Gathering Storm – Saving Miami” is available on demand at Google Play and Amazon, along with the rest of “Years of Living Dangerously” Season 2. Season 1 is available on YouTube, iTunes and Vimeo.

DEEP SEE – An Art Awakening for the Sea @ Art Miami

Join the U.S. Green Building Council Miami Branch at Art Miami for DEEP SEE – An Art Awakening for the Sea.

Conceived by artist Tina Spiro and developed by the MiART Foundation, the DEEP SEE project seeks to leverage the power of art as a means of communication to heighten awareness about and showcase solutions to climate change, marine safety and conservation, and sea level rise. The installation serves as a platform for like-minded organizations dedicated to the sea, as well as educational institutions, multi-media, performance and other related artworks, to create an immersive convergence for the sea leading to an action agenda. By creating an interactive experience for an audience who will enter individual shipping containers, three prominent environmental activist artists have created installations. Each artist has deep ties to both Miami and its environmental issues, which are integral to their bodies of work.

The exhibit is open Tuesday, December 5, through Sunday, December 10 at Art Miami, located at One Herald Plaza (right on Biscayne Bay at the former site of the old Miami Herald Building).


  • Tina Spiro
  • Edouard Duval Carrie
  • Jacek Kolasinski
  • Barry Fellman

Dates and Hours:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
FIRST VIEW VIP Preview: 4.30pm – 5:30pm

Access for Art Miami + CONTEXT Art Miami First View VIP Cardholders

Tuesday, December 5, 2017
VIP Preview: 5.30pm – 10pm

Access for Art Miami+CONTEXT+Aqua VIP Cardholders, Art Basel Miami Beach, Design Miami, NADA & Untitled VIP Cardholders & Press | Sponsored by Christie’s International Real Estate and Benefiting the Perez Art Museum Miami


Wednesday, December 6 — 11am – 8pm
Thursday, December 7 — 11am – 8pm
Friday, December 8 — 11am – 8pm
Saturday, December 9 — 11am – 8pm
Sunday, December 10 — 11am – 6pm

For tickets and additional information:

So You Think You Know Solar?

Love this solar quiz from The Climate Reality Project. Fifteen questions about the history and technology of solar energy. I consider myself to be relatively knowledgeable on this topic, yet missed quite a few of the answers. Question #2, in particular, surprised me.

Solar energy is the most abundant energy source on the planet. In many US states and around the world, it’s now cost-competitive with other sources of energy – and it doesn’t emit the dangerous greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Solar is a real win-win in the fight for climate solutions.


But how much do you really know about the technology that takes the immense power of the sun and turns it into electricity? Take our quiz… and find out!

Share your quiz results and comments, and be sure to support The Climate Reality Project!

#ShareATree with the Arbor Day Foundation & NBCUniversal

I love this idea!  #ShareATree on social media and the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with NBCUniversal, will plant 25,000 trees in hurricane-devastated areas of Texas and Florida. (What about Puerto Rico?)

Spread the word to plant trees

There are 4 images to choose from, each with a different fact about the benefits of trees. Share the images on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ShareATree. How easy is that!  Click the image to share a tree:

Trees play a vital role in our everyday lives. From preventing soil erosion to cleaning our water, trees help us all year around. And when they’re destroyed in a natural disaster, it can take a long time for a community to return to normal.


The Arbor Day Foundation is working with public and private partners to get millions of trees back in the ground in the wake of hurricane devastation. #ShareATree is part of their larger initiative to plant and distribute 5 million trees over the next five years. These trees will grow, strengthen the environment, and help support the communities as they heal.


Please share our message of replanting this holiday season.

Canada launches Smart Cities Challenge

On November 23, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities officially announced the Smart Cities Challenge. The challenge is open to all communities in Canada, including “municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities (First Nations, Métis and Inuit). The Challenge encourages communities to adopt a smart cities approach to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

The Smart Cities Challenge

Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Across the country, communities large and small are bursting with new ideas. As Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, I have been privileged to meet with leaders from coast-to-coast-to-coast and hear their bold and innovative plans to improve the quality of life for their residents. Through the Smart Cities Challenge, we will help bring these ideas and plans to life, and find solutions that achieve real and positive outcomes.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also discussed the Smart Cities concept while at Google’s Go North event in Toronto. Speaking specifically to Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs plan to turn an unused “portion of Toronto’s waterfront into a new model city of the future.”

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Canadians have a tendency to travel, Trudeau said, and that results in a global outlook on how cities work and their different approaches to things like traffic and how people live in urban environments. The new waterfront project gives Canadians “amazing opportunity to innovate or leapfrog” in urban innovation, since existing cities grew organically into what they are and how they work, for better or for worse, but the new smart city area won’t “be built on the bones of past failure and past successes,” but will instead be developed from a clean slate.

13 goals for a more sustainable Canada

Canada’s Federal Sustainable Development Strategy includes 13 broad goals for the country:

  • Effective action on climate change
  • Low-carbon government
  • Clean growth
  • Modern and resilient infrastructure
  • Clean energy
  • Healthy coasts and oceans
  • Pristine lakes and rivers
  • Sustainably managed lands and forests
  • Healthy wildlife populations
  • Clean drinking water
  • Sustainable food
  • Connecting Canadians with nature
  • Safe and healthy communities

So while the U.S. Federal Government strips references to climate change from Department of Energy websites and welcomes Canada’s leaky Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, Canada is actively working toward a more sustainable future for its citizens.

Which Ice Sheet Will Flood Miami?

There is a general consensus among Earth scientists that melting of land ice greatly contributes to sea-level rise (SLR) and that future warming will exacerbate the risks posed to human civilization. As land ice is lost to the oceans, both the Earth’s gravitational and rotational potentials are perturbed, resulting in strong spatial patterns in SLR, termed sea-level fingerprints. We lack robust forecasting models for future ice changes, which diminishes our ability to use these fingerprints to accurately predict local sea-level (LSL) changes.

And that’s why the folks at NASA’s Virtual Earth System Laboratory’s Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM) team came up with the “Gradient Fingerprint Mapping Simulation” for localized sea level rise from melting glaciers in  293 major port cities. The idea behind the simulation is to give city planners in the coastal regions “improved assessments of future coastal inundation or emergence.”

To the more science-minded among us, here is the research article discussing the the simulation: Should coastal planners have concern over where land ice is melting? (Authors: Eric Larour, Erik R. Ivins and Surendra Adhikari | NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology | Publication: Science Advances 15 Nov 2017: Vol. 3, no. 11, e1700537 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700537)

For the rest of us, according to the Gradient Fingerprint Mapping Simulation, about 47% of Miami’s sea level rise will come from glacier/ice sheet melting at the rate of about 1.333 mm/yr. Almost half of that will come from the Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest ice sheet in the world.

Other models available from the Virtual Earth System Laboratory:

Columbia Glacier
Haig Glacier
Ice Sheets
Greenland Basal Friction
Sea Level
Coastline retreat from Sea-Level Rise
Global Relative Sea-Level Rise
Gradient Fingerprint Mapping
Solid Earth
Greenland Geothermal Sensitivity