Will Charouhis was inspired to create a youth-led group to combat climate change by flooding in Miami from Hurricane Irma in 2017. At just 13 years old, Charouhis founded the nonprofit We Are Forces of Nature. Now 17, his continuing work on climate issues includes a project aimed at helping 1 million mangroves thrive.

Will Charouhis leads the project “A Million Mangroves: Halting Climate Change One Root at a Time”. Invading Sea readers might know Charouhis from the opinion pieces that he’s written for this website, including a piece on a speech by Jane Goodall in Miami. He serves on the Jane Goodall Institute’s USA Roots & Shoots National Youth Leadership Council.

He leads the project “A Million Mangroves: Halting Climate Change One Root at a Time” for the organization. The project is intended to regenerate mangrove forests that absorb greenhouse gas emissions, protect against coastal erosion and provide habitat for marine life.

At the beginning of the pandemic lockdown in 2020, Charouhis purchased a used kayak and started cleaning up mangroves near his home. When restrictions loosened, he began conducting monthly cleanups with his friends, cleaning up six miles of mangroves stretching down to the Florida Keys.

He also started planting mangroves, experimenting with ways to help ensure the plants survive. Young people around Miami have joined Forces of Nature in the planting effort, including a large planting on Virginia Key.

Learn more from Charouhis himself in this video

New research, published in Nature Climate Change, shows more detailed role of salt marshes, fjords

Coastal ecosystems globally lock away more carbon dioxide than they release, but emissions of two other greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxide – counteract that to a degree, according to international researchers led by Australia’s Southern Cross University that include a University of Florida biogeochemist.

The new findings of the coastal greenhouse gas balance in 10 regions globally are outlined in the paper published in Nature Climate Change.

From tropical lagoons to polar fjords, from coastal mangrove forests to underwater seagrass communities, many coastlines around the world show high diversity in greenhouse gas sinks and emissions.

Read the full article featured in UF Liberal Arts and Sciences NEWS

The 2023 Envision Resilience New Bedford and Fairhaven Challenge participating universities are the Rhode Island School of Design, Northeastern University, the University of Florida, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the University of Virginia. The Envision Resilience Challenge, a semester-long design studio and community engagement initiative connects interdisciplinary teams from leading universities with coastal communities to imagine resilient pathways in the face of climate change through adaptive design. Since its inception three years ago, the program has worked with more than 200 students from nine universities to serve the six coastal communities of Nantucket, Wickford, Warren, Providence, Aquidneck Island and Barrington. Carolyn Cox of the FCI helps with the academic coordination of this initiative to give UF students the opportunity to work across universities, disciplines, and geographies.  

Once the whaling capital of the world and now home to the highest-earning fishing port in the country, New Bedford and Fairhaven have long been defined by their connection to the water. Like coastal communities around the world, these seaport towns are facing rising sea levels, increasingly hotter temperatures and more frequent and intensifying storms. Envision Resilience students this year will once again be tasked with identifying threats, researching possible solutions and proposing innovative ways of living under future conditions that address issues of environment, housing, transportation, equity, local industry, ecology and resilience. A cohort of community advisors will serve as liaisons between the student teams and the communities so that outcomes reflect the values, cultures and needs of the people.

“The 2022 Envision Resilience Narragansett Bay Challenge opened up my thinking to what's possible,” said climate consultant Curt Spalding, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator under the Obama Administration and the former executive director of Save the Bay. “It raised the bar for developing a longer-term effort for planning across Rhode Island communities. There is no doubt of the impact this program will have on the New Bedford and Fairhaven communities.”

Each year, final designs of the Envision Resilience Challenge are presented to the community through a number of local events and a multi-month exhibition. To date, these designs have reimagined coastal edges and urban systems through nature-based solutions in vulnerable areas and regenerative systems in a post-carbon economy and explored new ways of living that embrace healthy, sustainable and equitable systems. From floating wharves and raised streetscapes to living, integrated shorelines and net-zero buildings that use hemp lime construction, the student work has inspired conversations on how local residents can work together to consider adaptive waterfronts and neighborhoods that benefit people, ecosystems, recreation and resilience.

Click here to see designs from previous challenges in Nantucket and Narragansett Bay.

Please join us in congratulating our 6 new FCI Student Climate Fellows!

Each submitted outstanding original ideas for exploring climate-related research projects AND plans to communicate their findings. This program will not only help prepare our next generation of climate leaders, but it will also help inform communities in Florida about these urgent issues.  

Check out these new fellows and stay tuned for more FCI opportunities!

This interdisciplinary studio, led by the University of Florida,  proposes a series of “suburban retrofits” to envision greater resilience, equity, and sustainability in Southwest Florida, which was recently devastated by Hurricane Ian. Multi-disciplinary teams focus on the city of Cape Coral, a poster child for Florida’s rampant post World War II suburban development, to explore design interventions systems at the scale of city and neighborhood.

Through a series of architectural designs, landscape infrastructures, planning/policy interventions, as well as multimedia tools to reimagine a transformed “civic core,” student teams visualize different possible futures for the study area. Design interventions culminate in the creation of an interactive “digital twin” using the Unreal Engine platform.

Funded by the National Academies of science (NAS) Gulf Research Program (GRP), the GulfSouth “super-studio” combines architecture, landscape architecture, urban and regional planning, as well as journalism and construction management students to explore the critical challenges facing the Gulf of Mexico’s coastline and communities. UF was one of five universities awarded funding for the creation of interdisciplinary architectural studio design courses that engage with the unique challenges and opportunities of the Gulf of Mexico region.

On Tuesday, April 25, professionals and academics from across the Gulf South joined students to discuss and evaluate the design studio proposals. The audience asked questions and provided ideas and considerations for future iterations of the students' designs, and students explained their thought and creation processes. Students also shared their experience and outputs working with the UnReal Engine platform to demonstrate how their projects would look and feel using the digital medium. Overall, the class accomplished its main goal: people came together across fields to imagine a more resilient, more innovative future for Cape Coral.