Editorials

Residents, cities taking charge of protecting the environment

Miami Herald Editorial Board

LimeBike, launched in Miami Shores and North Bay Village, is one of several bike-sharing programs in Miami-Dade County.
LimeBike, launched in Miami Shores and North Bay Village, is one of several bike-sharing programs in Miami-Dade County. Miami Herald

It took a while, but residents and city leaders of greater Miami are increasingly committed to protecting this community’s fragile environment.

All that sloshing across the rain-deluged streets; that time wasted steaming, in traffic; those chemicals that keep our lawns green, but whose runoff triggers algae bloom made the case.

This Thanksgiving, the Editorial Board acknowledges the governments — Miami Beach leading the way— and, more significant, the residents who pushed them to take more care in how they treat Mother Earth.

South Miami

The city has gone organic, as far as the fertilizers and herbicides that it uses in public green spaces. Mayor Phil Stoddard took the lead here, building upon the city’s progress in working with the environment, instead of pushing back against it. As Stoddard told Herald writer Jenny Staletovich, “Herbicides are sort of the unrecognized peril. I was horrified they were using all kinds of stuff that I would not want my child exposed to.”

This is no surprise, South Miami, itself, has taken the lead in this arena. In 2016, it became the first city in the state to require that all new homes built there have solar panels. It also has banned spraying for marsh mosquitoes. So the switch to organic landscaping is a natural for the city, as it should be for many others.

Miami

When taxpayers’ quality of life is in peril, visibly in peril, they will vote to pay for the solution. This month, Miami voters said Yes to the Miami Forever bond issue, meaning they agreed to tax themselves to fund $200 million in initiatives to protect the city and its neighborhoods against sea-level rise. No doubt, the visuals of water rushing down the streets of the Brickell area during Hurricane Irma and the flooding in bayfront neighborhoods in Northeast Miami every time king tides pay a call were persuasive.

The money will largely go to reduce flooding risks and improve stormwater infrastructure. We commend Miami voters for recognizing the need to invest in their future as climate change threatens.

Now, city’s officials cannot fail to spend the funds wisely, and ensure that they are credibly monitored, preferably by independent outside experts.

Municipalities

The bicycles come in a rainbow of colors — lime green, orange, blue. South Miami, Miami Shores and Key Biscayne are among the cities that now offer dockless bicycles. Residents access them through an app, go for a ride, and can leave them at Point B, instead of having to return them to where they picked them up. They sit curbside, coaxing residents out of their motor bubbles and putting people more in touch with where they live.

These wheels are another small, but smart, move to boost our quality of life.

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