Carver Middle School’s science fair team tackles climate change and freshwater shortages

Brad with Carver ISTF teamThe FIU Sea Level Solutions Center was recently approached by an impressive group of young students dedicated to making a difference in the face of climate change. Alexandra Vives, Luis Garcia, Timothy Shin, and Dylan Colon are representing George Washington Carver Middle School in this year’s Internet, Science, and Technology (ISTF) Fair, with a project submission that aims to address the issues of sea level rise and an increasing need for clean, fresh drinking water.  Their project design involves using renewable energy to desalinate large quantities of seawater, to be distributed to areas in need of freshwater.

“What we learned about the issue of rising sea levels was truly life changing,” the team said.

“For example, in South Florida, where we live, the sea is expected to rise two feet by 2050. This will impact the region by increasing the flood damage, losing our freshwater aquifers to saltwater, and increasing our taxes significantly. Knowing this has made us very aware of our environment and the challenges facing our community. It is this knowledge we hope to share with others.”

You can check out their team website here, which includes information about the students and the details of their project design. Prepare to be inspired!

Sea level rise discussion series kicks off in Coral Gables

TEDxFIU CrowlDue to the geology and topography of our region, and assets exposed, South Florida is among locations in the United States with the highest risk of sea level rise impacts. To take on this challenge, the City of Coral Gables is planning for the future by undergoing a community vulnerability assessment. This assessment will identify at-risk infrastructure and address adaptation and mitigation strategies to deal with the projected effects of sea level rise.

City leaders are also spreading awareness among local residents and businesses about sea level rise and the projected impacts within the community. In partnership with Florida International University (FIU) and its Sea Level Solutions Center (SLSC), the City of Coral Gables is hosting a Sea Level Rise Discussion Series. This three-part series will focus on topics such as the basics of sea level rise, its current and projected impacts, public policy implications, resilient and sustainable infrastructure design, and much more.

Part One of the series featured Dr. Todd Crowl, Director of FIU’s Southeast Environmental Research Center (SERC) and the Institute of Water and Environment (InWE), providing an overview of the causes of sea level rise and its projected impacts in South Florida. Click here to watch the full video of Dr. Crowl’s presentation , and view a copy of his slides here.

Miami Herald: Coral Gables partners with FIU SLSC for sea-level rise discussions

Street Flooding Cars CGCoral Gables is joining the growing conversation in South Florida about sea-level rise by hosting a series of discussions and educational forums on the topic. The first of three meetings over the next few months will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Coral Gables City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way.

The city is partnering with Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Center for a discussion on the basics of sea level rise. The talk will be led by Todd Crowl, a professor in the biology department and director of the Southeast Environmental Research Center at FIU. Crowl’s discussion will focus on what causes sea-level rise and how South Florida may be impacted.

Sea-level rise is a topic that the commission has discussed multiple times in the last few months following Mayor Jim Cason’s participation in the Rising Tides Summit in New Hampshire last October. The city is also developing a sustainability master plan and recently tentatively approved the creation of a Waterway Advisory Board. Read more here >>

New Graduate course at FIU: SLSC Interdisciplinary Studio

study-downtownSpecial Topics: BSC 6936 U05 – Spring 2016 – Thurs 2-4:30PM, PCA 131

No other place in the nation has higher risk to assets than Miami, Florida, and Florida Ranks very high among states that are least prepared for climate change impacts. The gravest climate change impact and threat to Miami is from sea level rise. Rising sea levels are creating challenges for both natural and human communities, and will impact the lowest elevation communities first. Understanding the causes, effects, and responses to sea level rise requires an interdisciplinary approach to short- and long-term strategies for mitigating the causes and effects of sea level rise. A holistic, system-oriented approach is posed that provides design and analysis toward decision-support for how we can adapt and even mitigate sea level rise now and into the future.

The Sea Level Solutions Center is convening its inaugural Interdisciplinary Studio. This studio will provide the basis for an interdisciplinary framework for developing and conducting design and analyses for the natural-built environment under future sea level rise. Faculty from Colleges of Architecture and the Arts, Engineering and Computer Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Law, and Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work are among instructors who will provide lectures, training and analytical tools. The studio is scheduled to include a scoping charrette that engages stakeholders from the outset to guide the vision of the studio products. The course will culminate in delivery of several products that enable decision-support for an “optimized solution”, with information, data and analyses for each solution. Graduate students from any discipline are invited to register. Contact Dr. Tiffany Troxler ( with any questions about the course.

Focus On South Florida: Climate Change Talks & Sea Level Rise

Focus on SFCBS Miami’s Focus on South Florida segment recently featured FIU’s Tiffany Troxler, Director of the FIU Sea Level Solutions Center, and Henry Briceño, Associate Researcher at FIU’s Southeastern Environmental Research. The discussion occurred during the middle of the COP21 climate change talks in Paris, after President Obama recently cited Miami Beach as a specific example of why the US should commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Drs. Troxler and Briceño each described what is currently being done to address the issues related to sea level rise in South Florida, and expressed their optimism going forward after the start of COP21. Watch the full video here >>

Why we should care about COP21

Tiffany-Troxler-headshot-378x400From Nov. 30 — Dec. 11, delegates from 194 countries throughout the world are convening in France for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This conference on climate change is expected to culminate with a new international agreement to mitigate climate change. FIU Law Senior Scholar Ryan Stoa and Journalism and Broadcasting Professor Juliet Pinto are currently in attendance at the conference.

Dr. Tiffany Troxler, Director of the FIU Sea Level Solutions Center, explains the importance of the international gathering, as it relates to greenhouse gases, increasing global temperatures, and sea level rise. More information >>

Citizens Engage in Sea Level Solutions with Eyes on the Rise

King tide event TiffanyOn Tuesday, November 24, SLSC Director Tiffany Troxler gathered faculty and students at Little River Pocket Park in Miami, for a hands-on event during King Tide flooding. The event focused on a low-lying community where significant tidal flooding has been observed, but received little attention, in order to conduct a citizen science activity and emphasize that sea level rise is not just a Miami Beach issue. Faculty and students organized to take video and help attendees with data collection. Attendees also had the opportunity to view storm water pump activity and conduct water quality sampling.

The event comes less than a week before world leaders will convene in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), to address climate change issues and formalize agreements to lower carbon emissions. Dr. Juliet Pinto, of FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will attend the conference in Paris and stream daily updates.

FIU pledges action during White House climate event

wh1FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg and student Salome Garcia joined United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy in Washington D.C. on to call for action on climate change.

More than 200 universities representing 3.3 million students throughout the United States, including FIU, have signed the American Campuses Act on Climate pledge. The White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Department of State are assembling leaders from higher education to discuss how college campuses can address climate change, launching the American Campuses Act on Climate day-of-action.  FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society and Sea Level Solutions Center hosted watch parties to live-stream the event.

The White House summit comes a little more than a week before the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) convenes in Paris, a United Nations meeting of all countries that want to take action on climate change. COP21 begins Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 11, 2015. More Information >>


FIU honored by Cleo institute

The-CLEO-institute-inductionFive FIU faculty members were honored and inducted into the Cleo Institute’s Leadership Circle on Thursday, November 12. The event showcased FIU’s multi-disciplinary work, as reflected in the group of inductees. Featured in photo, from left to right: Nancy Scanlon (Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management), Henry Briceño (Southeast Environmental Research Center), Juliet Pinto and Kate MacMillin (School of Journalism and Mass Communication), and previously-inducted faculty emeritus Jack Parker (College of Arts and Sciences). FIU’s Pete Harlem was also inducted.