I came across the Earth Day Network’s Urban Environment Report which took the time to score and rank 72 major urban areas in the United States based on environmental policy and sustainability principles. Needless to say, Miami came in a spot better than I anticipated; 71st place.

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3 Responses to Miami Environmental Policy, Striving for Last Place

  1. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t spent much time looking at the Earth Day Report but it immediately stood out to me that the study put a strong emphasis on “community vulnerability” which it computes by looking an things like income, health rates, educational attainment, and other social data that Miami (especially the City of Miami) rates very low on. See the report at page 10 at http://www.earthday.net/UER/report/pdfs/EDN_UER_Methodology_121206.pdf for more details.

    I don’t know with any kind of certainty but I doubt that the City of Miami is doing much regarding environmental sustainability. Still, given the Earth Day report’s emphasis on economic factors we might want to cut the city some slack; it’s poor environmental rating seems tied to some deeper, harder to address problems.

    The EPA compiles some fantastic, easy to read data on Miami and just about any other community in the U.S. If you visit http://www.ScoreCard.org you can compare Miami’s environmental ratings on a number of different measures to those of other major metropolitan areas. You can find out who the top polluters are in the county, what the top pollution problems are, and even get measures on environmental justice (i.e. how much pollution poorer communities face compared with richer communities).

    Anyway, the EPA data suggests that Miami-Dade is at a par with other places. The most interesting data, I thought, was the data shown when you type in a Miami zip, get the profile, scroll down to the “environment justice” header, and click on “Locate polluters in your area.” The map that pops up suggest that the lion’s share of the pollution that’s strangling Miami-Dade is run off from farms and factories north of us (esp. near Okeechobee).

    With all that said, I don’t doubt for a minute that the city needs to do much more. Also, I think a greater onus is on the County and the State of Florida; environmental problems require more regional responses.

  2. Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal says:

    Good point, The economic factors are likely the cause of our lower ranking. But, notice that cities with abundant sprawl all rank near the bottom of the list: Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, etc…

    Our green policies are just as bad as our urban development policies down here. Good point, however with the pollution map.

    The point I am trying to make is that we could be doing so much more to preserve and conserve our local ecology. All our cities need to take a more sustainable approach and the county should be doing more to promote local agriculture…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Amen. We’re on the same page.

    I love the blog, keep up the good work.

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