Sea levels are rising. Saltwater intrusion into our drinking water, septic tanks, landscape and agriculture is inevitable. 

Pinecrest Gardens-based environmental artist and University of Miami Professor of Practice Xavier Cortada wants residents to do something about it.

In his socially-charged Plan(T) project, Cortada is embarking on a public campaign to urge every resident across Miami-Dade County to plant a saltwater-tolerant mangrove propagule and an elevation-marked flag in their yard to symbolize and start preparing for the future of sea level rise.

The “mangrove in every yard” reforestation effort focuses on raising awareness and building community. By planting for a future with saltwater-intrusion, local residents can begin planning for the effects that climate change will bring to Miami.

Residents are encouraged to plant a mangrove seedling in their yards to facilitate climate conversations, help sequester carbon dioxide, and grow our salt-tolerant native tree canopy.

Since the launch of the eco-art effort, Cortada’s team has created Plan(T) installations across Miami-Dade County. Venues that have hosted the project include all Miami-Dade Public Library System branches, dozens of local schools, the Frost Science Museum, shops along Lincoln Road, and Pinecrest Gardens, among others. Importantly, the installation at each library was accompanied by an interactive presentation about the urgency of the climate crisis and the importance of planting mangroves.

Through this process, Cortada has encouraged the community to plant mangrove propagules which can withstand the test of time, help serve as future storm buffers, and provide seed stock for areas surrendered to rising seas.

The main exhibition took place in the Hibiscus Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens during Miami Art Week 2019.The project and exhibition was presented in collaboration with the University of Miami Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, Pinecrest Gardens, Miami-Dade Public Library System, Frost Science and the Xavier Cortada Foundation.