Residents of Miami have always been viewed as eco-friendly. We carry with us an ongoing concern for the preservation of our protected wetlands, ocean, beaches and parks. After all, it’s kind of difficult to not want to take care of such luxurious surroundings when you are living in a paradise. Still, as beautiful as it is, the city remains a major metropolitan area. This means the growing population (and subsequent pollution) will be coupled with a continual need for environmental improvement.
April has arrived, bringing with it Earth Month. This means it's time to do a little something extra to help keep our city, as well as the planet, in tiptop shape by making conscious efforts to contribute to its eco-friendly state. Miami has continued to make headway, remaining environmentally aware throughout the year by the development and support of "green" practices.
Photo Courtesy of The Z Ocean Hotel
Lining the crystalline waterways and sugar-colored beaches are a plethora of high-rise condos and striking homes. While space for new real estate may be hard to acquire these days, it is good to know that Miami has a multitude of eco-friendly condos, houses and even hotels that have been constructed specifically with conservation in mind. The Z Ocean South Beach Hotel, for example has a linen reuse program that allows guests the opportunity to select how often they want their towels and linens to be replaced, while their bathrooms utilize low-flow toilets, showers and faucets. Some of the other eco-friendly features found among the coveted South Beach properties include solar panels and rooftop gardens, as well as carefully planned drainage systems that recycle rain water. Not only do these meticulously-designed LEED certified residences help to save the environment, but they save money by helping residents reduce waste.
Photo Courtesy of Marlins Park
Even the new Miami Marlins $515 million dollar baseball stadium has joined the eco-friendly trend utilizing solar panels, waterless urinals (saving up to six million gallons of water a year) as well as its metro-friendly location, allowing game-goers to leave their cars at home. Luckily, public transportation options are second nature to Miami residents, allowing commuters to take advantage of varying methods of travel through the city which cuts back on pollution and roadway overcrowding.
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock
You literally can’t turn around without seeing some sort of water in this city. For homeowners in particular, pools and lawn maintenance can use up copious amounts of water that could otherwise be rationed. To help, Miami homeowners associations have asked residents to consider watering lawns during evening hours and to minimize the time spent washing cars. This year, the Miami-Dade County Water Conservation chapter is urging locals to take the WaterSense pledge, which hopes to decrease water usage through an increase in property awareness (checking for leaks, replacing faulty plumbing fixtures and tightening pipes).
Photo Courtesy of Skintique
When it comes to recycling, plastic, glass and paper don’t stand a chance of ending up in a Miami landfill. Residents are constantly seen carrying reusable shopping bags, which have become popular countrywide. Some designers, such as Envirosax, ChicoBag and Terra Trendz are even working on new, fashion-conscious styles to benefit your wardrobe and the environment at the same time.
For earth conscious retail lovers, Miami is also booming with eco-friendly stores offering organic and recycled products (even for pets!) made especially with Mother Nature in mind.
The Ecoist— Located at 404 Washington Ave. in South Beach, this environmentally aware boutique sells handbags made from recycled candy wrappers, food packages, soda labels and soda pull-tabs.
The Dog Bar— This unique store, found on Jefferson Avenue in Miami Beach, has only the purist and most natural products, wholly devoted to the wellness of dogs and cats. Food and treats are made without harmful preservatives and many of the toys are made from recycled, natural fibers.
Skintique— Situated on Sazedo Street in Coral Gables, Skintique is a licensed medical facility, offering organic facials, masks and serums derived from nature’s purist ingredients.
Photo Courtesy of Area 31
When it comes to food, Miami knows how to dine. But taste isn’t the only thing on the menu, as more and more restaurants are making sustainability a top priority. The Slow Food Miami Snail of Approval Award was created to highlight the positive efforts and excellence of restaurants around town who utilizes local, organic and sustainable ingredients. The award is based on strict standards, quality, authenticity sustainability and procedures. Below are a few 2012-2013 winners, not to mention great places that locals swarm to for some environmentally sound and tasty bites.
Much like the fishing area for which it is named, Area 31 Restaurant & Bar maintains a unique flow in the adaptation of its completely sustainable seafood offerings. Atop the Brickell Avenue skyline rests this indoor/outdoor eatery known for the environmentally conscious purchase and preparation of each and every meal. Executive Chef E. Michael Reidt showcases only the finest sustainable seafood, not to mention all of the dishes prepared at Area 31 are created from the best local providers in Miami. Area 31 is located on the 16th floor at EPIC Hotel at 270 Biscayne Blvd.
Located inside the ever-intriguing Standard Hotel in Miami Beach, Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill serves organic meats and fish; uses olive oil unprocessed food and ingredients, as well as maintains a strong focus on the healthier Mediterranean diet. Chef Mark Zeitouni favors local, fresh ingredients to be used straight away for some of the most flavorful and healthiest fare on the island. Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill is located at 40 Island Ave. in Miami Beach.
You may not think of Southern staples like friend chicken and biscuits as sustainable or even possibly healthy; however, the good people at Yardbird in Miami Beach, including Chef Mark Mc Innis, have proven this theory otherwise. With a serious focus on serving farm-fresh ingredients, the restaurant heavily supports local Miami farms such as The Little Haiti Community Garden, Paradise Farms in nearby Homestead, as well as G.R.O.W. in Doral. The bustling eatery’s fresh and environmentally happy foods were the reason it was awarded within the 50 Best New Restaurants of 2012 by Bon Appétit.
Photo Courtesy of Wynwood Exhibition Center
Earth Month Events
Also in celebration of Earth Month, a few notable events are being held to show the globe a little extra love. An exhibition entitled “Reclaiming Miami,” created by artist Lucinda Linderman, will be held in the Wynwood Exhibition Center near downtown. Frustrated by her personal consumption of plastic and paper waste from food and product packaging, Linderman utilizes a method called “upcycling” by reusing trash to create abstract sculptures that reference the body. Lucinda Linderman's "Reclaiming Miami" was held Aril 12.
On April 19 the high-end Edward James Salon at 9999 Sunset Drive will hold the “Art of Clean Water Benefit” with drinks, stress relief treatments and complimentary chair massages from 6 to 8 p.m. The benefit will be held in order to raise money for clean water through silent auction and general donations. All proceeds for the event will be donated to Everglades Foundation. Tickets may be purchased early for a 50% discount by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or may be purchased at the door.