AIRIE Panel at Miami Book Fair International Highlights the Value of the Everglades

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Courtesy of AIRIE
LeBlanc and Dugas
For the last 14 years, the Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE) has strengthened the bonds between science and art as a means of creating awareness and insuring the survival of the Everglades -- a unique and delicate ecosystem that is unique and should be of utmost concern for all Floridians. Over the years, AIRIE has faced the same problems that routinely plague nonprofits but has continued to attract cutting-edge, contemporary artists to "mingle" with the Park's scientific staff and create new works based solely on their experience in the residency.

Artist and Executive Director of AIRIE Deborah Mitchell will moderate a panel -- Science + Art: Transformative Experiences in the Everglades -- with an introduction by retired biologist Skip Snow, composed of the latest batch of artists who took up home in our beloved "swamp." This diverse and multi-disciplined group of artists include Gustavo Matamoros, Valerie LeBlanc, Daniel Dugas, McCrary Sullivan and Van Brunschot regarding their work within the fragile ecosystem. Local historian Dr. Paul George will review the historical aspects of the Everglades.

We had a chance to speak with Mitchell about the program, its vision and what the future holds for the science and arts partnership in the Everglades.

See also: The Ten Best Things to Do at Miami Book Fair International

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Adrian Grenier Talks Sea Level Rise and Sustainable Living in Miami (Video)

Miami knows how to throw a party, and raising awareness for important causes by wrapping them in swanky, cocktail-laden packages is our particular area of expertise. Film producer Peter Glatzer and actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier, co-founders of sustainable living brand SHFT, brought a refreshing take on the activity by outfitting an Arts & Entertainment District loft with environmentally conscious products and decor.

In partnership with NR Investments (NRI) and collaboration with Hillary Littlejohn Scurtis Design, SHFT curated a studio at Filling Station Lofts that reflects the online platform's call for a cultural shift toward sustainability in design, art, food, and music. The Filling Station unit was filled with furnishings from American artisans and companies that keep an eye on their planetary impact, from an organic California-made sectional, to a stunning fallen tree trunk-based dining table.

SHFT and NRI invited press and locals to see the model loft, hoping to foster the idea that conscious consumers don't have to sacrifice great design. We spoke to Grenier and Glatzer about their inspiration for the event and why Miami is primed to see a change in our surroundings.

See also: Coral Gables Museum's New Exhibit Offers Answers to Miami's Rising Sea Level Woes

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Ladies of Manure Calendar to Showcase the Sexy Side of Poop

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Courtesy of Fertile Earth Foundation
Unless you're one of the few people who didn't recoil in horror at 2 Girls 1 Cup, it's likely you don't find poop particularly sexy.

But the folks at Miami's Fertile Earth Foundation are working to show the public that "waste" has a purpose, and embracing its awesomeness can help save the planet.

Starring 12 supersexy, eco-conscious ladies slathered in South Florida shit, the 2015 Ladies of Manure calendar is coming soon -- assuming they can raise $10,000 by Halloween.

See also: Sex and Poop: Fertile Earth's 2013 Ladies of Manure Calendar (Photos, Video)

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Miami Working to Plant One Million Trees by 2020; Increase Shade Canopy to 30 Percent

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Courtesy of Million Trees Miami
Volunteers plant trees at Northside Station.
For a city that's so hot our seawater practically boils, we have an auspicious lack of tree canopy. Our shade percentage stands at a mere 14 percent, when a healthy urban forest should be 30 percent. Less than half is less than impressive.

But the fact has not been lost on Miami's Community Image Advisory Board. Chaired by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, they launched Million Trees Miami in 2011, with a goal of hitting their number by 2020. As of end of 2013, they were at 162,000.

See also: Coral Morphologic Races to Save Corals From Deep Dredge

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King Tide Day: Students Gather on Miami Beach To Combat Sea Level Rise Apathy

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Photo by Natalie Villarreal
South Florida tides
At this moment, there's probably a terrible traffic snarl happening somewhere in South Florida. But, until you're caught up in one yourself, what does it matter? It's difficult to care when you're not in the midst of chaos, when it's not happening in front of you. Similarly, it can be difficult to care about or comprehend, the creeping, gradual effects of climate change in Miami without bearing witness to it happening beneath our feet.

When King Tide Day brings the highest tide of the year to Miami Beach on October 9, a group of professors, students, and climate scientists will use the naturally-occurring event to publicly measure the effects of sea level rise, and consider it in terms of South Florida's future vitality.

See also: HighWaterLine Project Charts the Impact of Sea Level Rise in Miami

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Miami PARK(ing) Day to Turn Parking Spots Into Pop-Up Parks

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Courtesy of Marta Viciedo
As Miami's population booms, the debate about parking only gets more contentious (just ask business owners in Wynwood). But what if we were a city who needed fewer parking spots, thus freeing up more public space? What would we do with it? How would our sense of community change?

These questions are the domain of PARK(ing) Day, a global event on Friday, September 19, when metered parking spots are turned into mini-parks. This year, ten parking spots (mainly in downtown Miami) will be transformed into engaging pop-up parks, all to challenge the status quo of how we're using public street space.

See also: PARK(ing) Day Will Turn Metered Spots Into Mini-Parks in Downtown Miami

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Colony1 Eco-Friendly Community to Build Sustainable "Living Building" in Wynwood

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Photos by Jayme Gershen
A model of Colony1's planned "living building."
Forget San Francisco or Portland. Thanks to Colony1, Miami might be the next sustainable Shangri-La.

In the works in Wynwood is a community classroom, vegan kitchen, urban garden, bulk food store, and multifaceted facility, thanks to environmental pioneers Nando and Blair Jaramillo and their organization, the Art of Cultural Evolution (ACE).

The building and community hub is in its initial planning stages, but to welcome the upcoming addition, ACE is hosting a get-to-know-you neighborhood event in conjunction with Art Walk this Saturday. Pop in for some mulching fun, a vegan pot luck, fresh fruit, music and social time with some of Miami's finest minds.

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Miami Design Charrette Tackles Global Warming: "We Bring the Issue Home"

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Global warming is a major issue these days, affecting everything from an increased possibility of death and destruction courtesy of the next killer hurricane, to the seemingly improbable winter weather that turns entire stretches of the country into a scenic panorama that suggests we're entering a new ice age -- and even cheating spouses. Yet, for all the doubts and dismissals, the evidence is pretty clear that something is amiss with our environment. What else could account for the fact that huge chunks of the polar ice caps are giving way and leaving scarcely enough frozen tundra to refill the ice in our cocktail glasses on a Saturday night in South Beach?

Politicos can debate the cause and effect endlessly, but in Miami, one group is actually motivated enough to do something about this dilemma, and get the rest of us involved as well. On Saturday, June 21, the good folks in Wynwood are organizing a day of activities -- a "charrette," meaning "a collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem." In this case, it's a confab intended to shape a vision for smart and sustainable growth across Miami-Dade County, offering key strategies to cope with the imminent threats of our time, among them, rising seas, diminishing resources and an increasing population.

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IKEA Installs South Florida's Largest Rooftop Solar Panel

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Courtesy of Ikea
Given that Florida is the Sunshine State, it's semi-puzzling that Floridians don't have a wider array of solar-powered stuff. Shouldn't like everything be fueled by that burning ball of gas that keeps us all in killer tans?

Well, at least one company is committed to harnessing the power of the sun: IKEA. The furniture giant just finished installing South Florida's largest solar array atop their soon-to-open Sweetwater store.

See also: IKEA Miami Now Hiring: 350 Jobs Including Food Service Positions

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Ten Things to Do in Honor of Earth Day

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Despite the fact that she sustains our lives, literally, Mother Nature doesn't get a whole lot of kudos. Most of the time, we're abusing her via gas-guzzling vehicles, carbon-spouting factory farms, and plastic trash by the ton.

Since she only gets one day of recognition out of 365, the least we can do is show her some serious love. Luckily, there are lots of ways to make with the earth-affection this week, from volunteering, to ethical eating, to adopting a homeless pup. Check out our list and hop to it.

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