events blog

MWK Participates in Center for Social Change’s “Lightning Talks”

The Center for Social Change (C4SC) is a coworking space for public interest organizations located in the heart of Coral Gables, FL, where organizations, including nonprofits and social entrepreneurs, work from and participate as members. The Center incorporates a community environment with its meeting spaces, access to events and educational opportunities, and more. Once a month, members of C4SC come together to give quick informative pitches, appraising each other of ongoing efforts. Valerie Hill, Director of Operations & Membership from C4SC, explains this effort as “a way for our members to practice their pitch, get to know each other, and enhance collaboration.” 




Last month’s speakers included Miami Waterkeeper (MWK), CLEO Institute, and SECORE International to shed light on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our planet. The following topics were discussed: 

Natalie Rivas, Program Manager at The CLEO Institute

The CLEO institute highlighted the significant decrease in greenhouse gasses (GHGs) due to the reduction of cars on the road, and overall industrial activity. With more people at home, Natalie Rivas explains, “[This quarantine] is allowing our air to clear up.” She spoke about a recent study from Columbia University, where researchers found carbon monoxide emissions from cars recently dropped by 50% in NYC. Another study CLEO has been reviewing from Harvard, indicated a correlation between higher pollution levels and higher COVID-19 death rates -- illustrating an intersection of climate change and health. CLEO sees the opportunity to consider the recent changes we’ve made in our personal lives and incorporate them into our “new-normals.” CLEO believes that our communities are able to look out for each other, a valuable lesson learned when tackling climate change.

Collin Schladweiler, Outreach Coordinator at Miami Waterkeeper

Miami Waterkeeper’s, Collin Schaldweiler, shared information on MWK’s shift in strategy due to COVID-19. From March 11th through April 2020, MWK temporarily halted water quality sampling at beaches and waterfront sites across Miami. However, our weekly routine sampling began once again the week of May 4, 2020. Read more HERE.

With more people at home, individuals are spending more time outdoors, going on walks, and keeping watch over our waterways. With more eyes on the water, citizens are sending in videos of rare and protected species, including a pair of endangered smalltooth sawfish.

Screenshot from video taken by community member, Scott Z. Two smalltooth sawfish swimming side by side in Biscayne Bay, near Margaret Pace Park.


Margaret Miller, Research Director at SECORE International

SECORE International is an organization focused on coral restoration, research and development, and coral breeding techniques. Margaret Miller explained that their goals have been significantly affected because many of the organization’s activities are dependent on international travel. 

Margaret explained that while decreases in emissions and GHGs are providing significant benefits to our air quality, they are only providing small benefits to corals. The majority of root problems and societal activities haven’t changed. One example of such a contribution is SSOs or sewage spills, where nutrient pollution could adversely impact coral reefs. Overall, the organization is mostly dealing with reorienting priorities and scaling back on local plans, however, SECORE is aiming to raise corals in Miami as soon as August of 2020. 

Learn more and watch the full video HERE


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