Alice Wainwright Park – Connecting People to Nature on World Environment Day

Today is World Environment Day, so let’s celebrate Alice Wainwright Park.

Alice Wainwright Park is located just south of the entrance to the Rickenbacker Causeway on the northern edge of Coconut Grove along Brickell Avenue. The 28-acre waterfront park & nature preserve showcases a tropical hardwood hammock. This stand of trees is a remnant of the Brickell Hammock, the “world’s northernmost tropical climate forest“.

The Brickell Hammock was a High Hammock, an extensive sub-tropical “jungle” that grew along the elevated bluff that extended along Biscayne Bay from Downtown Miami south to Coconut Grove and Cutler. This elevated bluff was formed by marine life and was the oldest land in southeast Florida. It was forested by seeds brought in by high tides over the land, and there were more varieties of trees found here than in any other section of the state.

The elevated bluff, also known as “Silver Bluffs”, is a small section of the oolitic limestone Miami Rock Ridge that stretches from northeast Miami-Dade to the Upper Keys. The Miami Rock Ridge formed a barrier between Biscayne Bay and the interior part of South Florida, “establishing a geological basin that facilitated the development of the Everglades“.

The park, named for the first woman elected to serve on the City of Miami Commission, is a like a secret gem in the city and one of my favorite places to reconnect with nature.

World Environment Day

World Environment Day is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.

The 2017 host country is Canada, and the theme is “connecting people to nature” – “get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.”

From your backyard to your favorite national park, nature is closer than you think. It’s time to get out and enjoy it.

Is Your In-Sink Garbage Disposal a Green Choice?

Simply put, food waste is a big environmental problem. It’s the largest source of waste in our nation’s landfills, where it sits and produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.


There’s a simple solution to this food waste challenge, and it’s sitting right under many American sinks. But a new survey shows that nearly half of Americans didn’t know that in-sink garbage disposers can reduce the amount of food waste headed to our landfills.

The survey showed that 66 percent of respondents felt that food waste’s impact on the environment is a significant problem, yet 49 percent did not connect garbage disposer use with alleviating this problem and 72 percent admit they still sometimes dispose of food and food waste in the trash.

The survey was commissioned by Emerson’s InSinkErator® business unit, who went on to say:

Disposal technology has advanced significantly in recent years, with today’s InSinkErator Evolution® disposals capable of grinding everything from corn cobs, bones and apple cores to banana peels, avocado pits and fruit and veggie peels. Once ground, food waste is sent through a home’s wastewater plumbing to treatment facilities, which are equipped to process the slurry more efficiently than landfills.


A growing number of communities are taking an additional environmentally responsible step to convert ground food waste into energy by using anaerobic digesters wastewater treatment systems to process food waste. With digesters, methane gas can be captured and used to produce renewable energy. Other byproducts are fertilizer and clean water.


The combination of disposals and digesters may deliver significant reductions in food waste headed to landfills. In a series of two-year pilot projects supported by InSinkErator, five U.S. cities saw a 30 percent reduction in food waste in participating households on average. The city of Philadelphia, one of the pilot program participants, last year enacted a new building ordinance calling for installation of disposals in all new homes constructed in the city.

I know what you are thinking… a company commissions a study that supports the sale of their product. Sure. But EcoMyths – “busting environmental myths since 2009” – confirms the general claim

These appliances… not only reduce the amount of diesel fuel and emissions associated with driving garbage trucks around town—but also carry this uneaten waste along to the wastewater treatment plant, where it can actually be used to produce resources like fertilizer and clean energy.

They remind us, however, that while sink disposals have clear benefits over trash cans and landfills, composting is better and reducing waste is even better.


Ygrene Energy Fund Wins Awards

Ygrene Energy Fund is a leading national provider of residential, commercial and multifamily PACE (property assessed clean energy) financing. Last week they were recognized by GlobalCapital with two awards: “Esoteric ABS Issuer of the Year” and “Ygrene’s GoodGreen 2016-1 security as “Esoteric ABS Deal of the Year,” highlighting the first-of-its-kind, AAA-rated, Green Bond-certified PACE securities as unique within the industry.”

Kevin Dougherty, US Publisher of GlobalCapital, commented, “At GlobalCapital, we are constantly on the look-out for the most innovative financing mechanisms and those that are at the center of investor conversations. Ygrene is setting the standard for this fast-growing sector of consumer financing and we all look forward to its continued growth.”

About Ygrene Energy Fund

Ygrene Energy Fund is a leading national provider of residential, multifamily and commercial property assessed clean energy financing. The award-winning, privately-funded YgreneWorks program provides financing for energy efficiency, renewables and water conservation as well as, in certain areas, hurricane protection, electric vehicle charging stations and seismic upgrades. Ygrene is committed to making it easy for property owners to invest in their future and in a healthier environment. The YgreneWorks program creates jobs by investing in local communities and enabling state governments to achieve policy objectives.

About PACE Financing

Named one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas by Scientific American magazine, property assessed clean energy (PACE) is a simple, effective way to pay over time for a wide range of energy and water saving, renewable generation and climate resiliency improvements to our built environment.


PACE financing enables property owners to make energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate resiliency and water saving improvements to residential, multifamily, commercial and agricultural buildings with 100 percent, no money down PACE financing. Payments are incorporated into and repaid over time through property taxes with terms of up to 30 years, depending on service area and type of improvement. If you sell your property, payments may transfer to the new owner, just like your property taxes. (Property taxes are legally transferable when you sell your property, however, some mortgage lenders may require full repayment (payoff) of any remaining PACE special tax/assessment upon sale or refinance.)

Learn more about PACE financing in Miami’s Green Corridor at YgreneWorks

“Learn About Composting” Day

Yes, there really is an annual “National Learn About Composting Day” and it is today. Created in 2011, the originator explained his reasons:

As a Boy Scout leader, this author follows the Boy Scout motto “Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle”. Composting is a great way to re-use a wide range of things that otherwise would go unnecessarily into the waste stream.

Even before that, International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) was started in Canada in 1995 and is held the first full week in May each year. International Compost Awareness Week and National Learn About Compost Day have the same goal:

… to raise the awareness of the public regarding the benefits of using compost to improve or maintain high quality soil, to grow healthy plants, reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides, improve water quality and protect the environment.

So in the spirit of learning about composting, consider the humble banana peel and “regenerative loop of life.”.

And if you want to learn more about composting at home, Miami-Dade County in partnership with the University of Florida is giving a FREE workshop on Saturday, July 8 from 9:00am – 10:30am with Master Gardener Terri Stephen at Thalatta Estate, 17301 Old Cutler Rd, Palmetto Bay, FL. Call 305.259.1245 for more information or to RSVP.  “Learn how to make organic soil from your own kitchen and yard waste. Easy and fun and great for your garden.”

“The Compost Story” was produced by Kiss The Ground and Elevate Films. Be sure to visit their site to read about the wonderful work they are doing.

Rain Barrel Workshop – Saturday, June 3

Come learn how harvesting rainwater can help reduce pollution from stormwater runoff and provide a supply of free, non-chlorinated, pH-neutral water for your garden, prize orchids, potted plants, and much more! The workshop is free to attend and recycled plastic 60-gallon food-grade drums (rain barrels) are available for purchase at $40.00 each. You may purchase rain barrels online through registration with a credit card. Rain barrels can be purchased at the workshop with a check or money order only. Cash is not accepted.

Miami-Dade County residents will also be able to exchange three (3) old light bulbs for energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs and exchange up to two (2) water-wasting showerheads for water-efficient models. Quantities are limited.

WHEN: Saturday, June 3, 2017
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

WHERE: Tropical Audubon Society- Doc Thomas House
5530 Sunset Drive, Miami, FL 33143

RSVP (attendance is FREE) &/or to purchase a rain barrel ($40) at Eventbrite

ORGANIZERUF/IFAS Extension Service Miami-Dade County- Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program
The UF/IFAS Extension Miami-Dade County’s Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN) program provides education on the 9 Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles throughout Miami-Dade County to homeowners, property managers, municipalities, and other groups. We partner with Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department to educate residents on water conservation in the landscape through workshops, outreach events, presentations, and an irrigation rebate program.

Barbara McAdam, of the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program, talking about rain barrels at the Tropical Audubon Society Doc Thomas House in South Miami (photo credit: Theo Karantsalis of the Miami Herald)

As part of Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department’s water conservation initiatives, the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program offer rainwater harvesting workshops to educate Miami-Dade County residents on how to capture rainwater, why it can be beneficial, and how to install a rain barrel in the landscape.


Florida receives an average of 56 inches of rainfall per year. An inch of rainfall over a 1000sq.ft. area yields in excess of 600 gallons of water. A rain barrel is an inexpensive means of capturing and storing some of this water for later use. By installing a rain barrel you will not only help reduce pollution from stormwater runoff, but also have a supply of free non-chlorinated Ph neutral water for watering your prize orchids, potted plants and much more!


Learn about water conservation issues and how to construct and install your very own rain barrel.

Live in Central Miami-Dade and want to go solar?

Have you considered installing solar panels on your home, but concerned about the upfront costs? Here’s an idea: solar co-ops. Florida Solar United Neighborhoods (FLSUN) is helping homeowners throughout the state form community solar cooperatives to benefit from bulk purchase discounts for solar panels.

Neighbors across the Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, City of Miami west to the Palmetto have joined together to form the Central Miami (North) Solar Co-op with the help of FL SUN to make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels, while building a community of local solar supporters. Join us for an information session in Miami to learn about solar energy, as well as how the Central Miami (North) Solar Co-op simplifies the process of going solar while providing a discount through its bulk purchasing power.

The Central Miami (North) co-op coverage area is from Bird Road (SW 40the Street) to NW 70th Street, and from the Palmetto Expressway east to the Biscayne Bay, and includes all of Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, and the City of Miami. There will be three information sessions held for the Central Miami North Solar Co-op:

May 31, 7 p.m.
City of Miami City Hall
3500 Pan American Drive
Miami, FL 33133
RSVP here

June 6, 7 p.m.
Key Biscayne Community Center, 2nd floor
10 Village Green Way
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
RSVP here

August 15, 7 p.m.
Coral Gables Adult Center
2 Andalusia Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134
RSVP here

As John Morales notes in the video above, there are solar co-ops are forming or already operating throughout Miami-Dade and other counties in Florida. If you are not located within the boundaries of the Central Miami (North) Solar Co-Op, FLSUN’s webpage has a list of the other solar co-ops.

The co-op is sponsored by the League of Women Voters Miami-Dade County, Green Corridor (Ygrene), Tropical Audubon Society, Earth Ethics Institute, Miami Dade College, Rise up Florida!, Resilient Miami, Urban Impact Lab, Unitarian Universalists Congregation of Miami, Sustainable Miami, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, The Cleo Institute, Commissioner Ken Russell’s Office, and FL SUN.

World Turtle Day

In celebration of World Turtle Day, here is a video clip of the Florida Keys Loggerhead turtle released in Marathon a couple of months ago.

The turtle, named Jean, was rescued off Duck Key in the Florida Keys in late December when she was found floating and unable to dive. The adolescent sea turtle was taken to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, where she was convalescing for nearly three months.

Jean was emaciated and treated at the Turtle Hospital for an intestinal impaction. Treatment included broad spectrum antibiotics, vitamins, lactulose and a healthy diet of squid and fish. Jean has gained 20 pounds, is healthy and ready to return to the sea!


Two more sea turtles have been treated at the Turtle Hospital and released this month, including “Don, a 200 pound male loggerhead sea turtle… rescued from Vaca Cut last month where he was found entangled in fishing line, struggling to surface.” Don was released at 10 a.m. this morning in recognition of World Turtle Day.

Don, the sea turtle | Photo credit: The Turtle Hospital

Hug a Lake on Earth Day

The University of Miami invites you to celebrate Mother Earth on the Lakeside Patio April 21st from 10 am to 3 pm!


– 10 am: Green Fair – ECO art exhibit
– 12 pm: HUG THE LAKE
– 12.30 pm: Roberta “Bosey” Fullbright Foote Environmental Prize Ceremony
– 1 pm to 3 pm: Net Zero Energy Concert with Frost School of Music

During the day, you will have a chance to:

– Pass by the ECO- Green U table to get your punching card, visit our booths and start learning while having fun.
– Learn from our partners how they promote Sustainability in our region: Check the list of vendors from the Green Fair below.
– Win sustainable prizes like reusable water bottles, recycled fiber bags or Sustainable food vouchers.
– Listen to a Frost School of Music sponsored Concert. The electricity used for the concert will be offset by Renewable Energy Credits, making the concert NET ZERO ENERGY.
– Admire the work of our School of Art’ students. Their creations’ material came from salvaged resources they picked at the UM Surplus warehouse in Medley FL.


Presented by Random Act of Kindness and the Butler Center for Service and Leadership: At 12 pm, you are all invited to join us for 15 minutes at Lake Osceola to celebrate Earth Day by hugging the lake.


Waste Diversion sponsored by Waste Management, Dade Recycling, and Shred-It

Water sponsored by Coca Cola, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Dpt

Green Purchasing sponsored by VWR, Staples

Green Building sponsored by USGBC

Renewable Energy sponsored by Alternate Energy Company

Alternative Transportation sponsored by Zipcar, SemaConnect EV charging station; UM Parking &Transportation

Local Non Profit and Government: Coral Gables Office of Sustainability, Dream in Green, Citizen Climate Lobby, Treemendous, UF Extension – MDC Florida Yards & Neighborhoods .

Sustainable Food: UM Dining Services, Herbert Wellness Center, Solar Smoothies with UM Student Health, and Ice Cream at Ben & Jerry!

UM Student organizations: USGBC Student Chapter; CommUnity Garden Club; Environmental Law Society; Green Committee; Plant Based Canes; Food recovery Network

Celebrate Earth Day on The Underline

On Saturday, April 22nd get up and clean up in celebration of Earth Day! Friends of The Underline is partnering with the Miami Dade County Department of Transportation & Public Works to present Earth Day on The Underline! Join members of your community by volunteering to clean up the future Underline: Brickell Backyard from the Miami River to Coral Way. Why? Let’s show that we care about The Underline even before we start building.


We’ll see you Saturday, April 22nd at 9 AM for some community fun, snacks and refreshments and even a few prizes! Clean up kicks off at 9 AM and runs until 11AM. We’ll provide gloves and other clean up gear. Sign up on Eventbrite!


Getting there: We encourage walking or biking to The Underline’s Earth Day. Or hop on the Metrorail and exit at Brickell Metrorail Station. For drivers, public parking is available throughout the area, or take Uber or Lyft