FCC News Brief - November 20, 2018

Read Florida’s tight elections come at a crucial time for climate change action in the US: ‘This is catastrophic’ - “In Miami-Dade County these days, hurricane-force winds and evacuation orders are no longer what must accompany streets flooding and roads turning into lakes. Along Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Florida, and elsewhere on the barrier island, residents have already been forced to reckon with the impacts of climate change: plastic liners and sandbags are in place to keep garages and homes dry, while the city is raising roads and installing expensive pumps as a part of a $400m (£311m) plan to try to offset rising sea levels that now frequently spill over even when the sun is out. As election workers in the the county and across the state rush to recount ballots in the Senate race before Tuesday, the fate of climate change action in fragile Florida looms large over the tallies. And for a place like Miami, which is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels and climate change, the fate of the city’s literal existence could be tied to those ballots…In the 2018 races, the environment was unavoidable in Florida. Mr Gillum and Mr DeSantis were joined by Republican Rick Scott, who is running against Mr Nelson, in discussing the issue. That’s a rarity in the state’s politics, to say the least: Mr Scott, as governor, has banned the use of terms like climate change in official capacities. Even so, with algae blooms impacting local tourism and health, and the wreckage left behind by Hurricane Michael after it hit the state’s panhandle last month, the issue was unavoidable...” Read Clark Mindock reports for The Independent.

Read Democrats prepare to grill Trump officials on environmental issues in new Congress - “Three likely incoming Democratic chairs of House committees overseeing environmental issues vowed to scrutinize the Trump administration’s actions on climate change and bring before them top administration officials who they think have escaped adequate oversight under their Republican colleagues. In a slate of interviews, they outlined an expansive agenda to put a hot spotlight on the Trump administration’s rollback of President Obama’s climate agenda and to delve deep into alleged misconduct of officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and the Housing and Urban Development Department. At the top of that list is Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke...A day after Pelosi tweeted her support for creating a special climate committee, the three ranking Democrats announced they plan to hold two days’ worth of hearings on climate change early next year. Pallone said Democrats want to review some of Trump’s splashier climate-related moves, such as the plans to pull out of the Paris climate accord and to repeal greenhouse-gas limits on coal-fired plants…” Dino Grandoni and Juliet Eilperin report for the Washington Post.

Read The future-you can help keep it paradise - “It’s the beginning of a new season and we must be hopeful to make this the best community in which to live. In the last two years we have endured many natural and man-made problems — hurricanes, floods, unending traffic with increased housing/commercial development, loss of trees and wildlife reduction, hotter and longer summers, red tide, green algae and fish kills. e can’t stop Mother Nature or development. However, we can take action to minimize the impact of unstoppable growth on our daily life. What are the things that make us happy in spite of disasters and development? A good walk in nature sometimes helps. If our beaches have been unwalkable because of fish kills/red tide, find a park or conservation area to relieve stress. Conservation Collier has purchased land for walking/biking and other recreational activities in many areas around the county. The Gordon River Greenway and Freedom Park are in the heart of Naples…” Bonnie Michaels writes Commentary for the Naples Daily News on behalf of the League of Women Voters Environmental Committee.

Read This new Florida neighborhood has zero emissions, tons of smart tech, and is hurricane-proof - “In a fishing village south of Tampa called Cortez, a new community of small homes will run on solar power to reach a “net zero” energy footprint–using Google Home to help optimize how the power is used. “It’s going to be a grid-interactive, grid-optimized virtual power plant,” says Blake Richetta, senior vice president and head of U.S. operations at Sonnen, which is making batteries that will store solar power for the 148 new homes in the new development, called Hunters Point. The company designed its software to work with Google Home devices and interact with its system, which sends extra power into batteries or into the grid at ideal times...The system solves one of the challenges of solar power. “Pumping solar into the grid is a problem for grid operation,” says Richetta. “It makes for difficult frequency issues, it’s expensive, it’s stressful for the grid, and ultimately it does not decarbonize in the way that people who love the idea of solar think it does.” Adele Peters writes for FastCompany.

Read The story of Uno: The blind Florida panther who became an ambassador - “The Florida panther is considered the most endangered mammal in the eastern U.S. They are a subspecies of the North American puma, which are also known as mountain lions or cougars in other areas of the continent. Their range historically extended from Arkansas and Louisiana, across Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and parts of South Carolina.Today, Florida panthers only live in five percent of that range, with a single breeding population located south of the Caloosahatchee River. About 230 panthers were believed to live in Florida in 2015. And though that number seems low, it’s a tremendous increase from the early 1970s, when only 20 panthers were believed to live in the state...Uno was believed to be 6 years old when he died from uncertain circumstances, which is likely much longer than he would have survived with his injuries in the wilderness. Research shows that wild Florida panthers can live up to 20 years or more...Ironically, all of the funds for FWC’s panther conservation program comes from the sale of the Florida Panther license plate, adorning the mammoth machines that cause the most damage to their population. Lotz said the license plates bring in about $1.3 million annually. As Florida panthers move into new areas, they have more opportunities to come into conflict with people. Depredation, or attacks, on domestic animals like livestock and household pets are a major source of conflict in South Florida...Uno was a living, breathing example of the conflicts between humans and Florida panthers in South Florida, and the Naples Zoo used his story to educate zoo visitors about both sides of the issue. He put a face to both the beauty and the challenges of protecting such a wild species in a state that suffers from constantly encroaching development…” Hannah O. Brown writes for The Marjorie.

Read Can artificial intelligence improve maps for land conservation?- “In December 2016, environmental group Chesapeake Conservancy unveiled one of the largest, high-resolution land-cover maps made in the United States. It analysed every square metre of satellite data in the 207 cities and counties that touch the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay on the U.S. eastern seaboard. The bay, North America's biggest estuary, has struggled to recover from overfishing and pollution, and the conservancy hopes the map will guide environmental restoration decisions like where to plant stormwater-absorbing trees...For land managers, better and more detailed maps help to improve how resources are conserved, Jeff Allenby, project director said. That painstaking process is set to get much quicker. U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp hopes using artificial intelligence and machine learning will speed up the labour-intensive approach used by Chesapeake Conservancy...Land experts like George McCarthy, head of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, heralded the technological advances of high-resolution land cover maps. But he cautioned that such tools, created from public data, should not serve private interests in the way that companies have curated and sold information about publicly available land records. "There is a giant interest among the tech companies to figure out how they can package information and then monetise it," he said…” Gregory Scruggs reports for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.


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Upcoming Environmental Events:

November 27 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – FREE WORKSHOP -- Palm Beach County 2070:  What’s Next?  (Palm Beach Gardens) - Join 1000 Friends of Florida and the North County Neighborhood Coalition on Tuesday, November 27 to identify the steps needed now to promote a more sustainable future for Palm Beach County. We want to hear from you about what you think the biggest obstacles are to sustainability and what needs to be done, both short- and long-term, to overcome them.   The workshop is at Nova’s Palm Beach Campus, 11501 North Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens.  This event is free, no registration is required, and light refreshments will be served.  Visit  www.1000friendsofflorida.org/pbco2070plan to find out more.

November 28 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – FREE WORKSHOP – Martin County 2070:  What’s Next? (Stuart) - Join 1000 Friends and The Guardians of Martin County on Wednesday, November 28 to share your thoughts on steps needed now to promote a more sustainable future for Martin County. We want to hear from you about what you think are the biggest obstacles to sustainability in Martin County and what needs to be done, both short- and long-term, to overcome them.  The workshop is at the Susan H. Johnson Auditorium, Wolf High-Technology Center, 2400 SE Salerno Road, Stuart.  This event is free, no registration is required, and light refreshments will be served.  Visit www.1000friendsofflorida.org/mco2070plan to find out more.

December 1, 9:00am-4:00pm - 2018 Florida Solar Congress (Miami) - The 2018 Florida Solar Congress is a free public conference. It brings together solar supporters from across the state to learn and discuss the current solar landscape and future for solar energy in Florida. The day will include a series of presentations about solar technology and policy, as well as ways to get involved with helping to grow solar in Florida. Topics will include: solar 101, solar + battery storage for homes, grassroots solar advocacy, electric vehicles, ways to get involved, and much more! The event will conclude with a participatory open forum discussion for all attendees to discuss priorities and opportunities that solar supporters in Florida should focus on in the coming year. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all attendees! RSVP here. Interested in volunteering at this event? Email Heaven Campbell at heaven@flsun.org.

December 1, 12:00pm-4:00pm - NFLT J.J. Grey Concert- (Jacksonville) - The North Florida Land Trust presents Jacksonville-hailing J.J. Grey, singer and songwriter described by his fans as ‘the North Florida sage and soul-bent swamp rocker’ who has gained worldwide acclaim with his band, JJ Grey and Mofro. This December’s concert brings Grey back home to his beloved roots and will feature JJ Grey in a solo performance. Grey shares a commitment to the land of his north Florida home that fits perfectly with North Florida Land Trust’s mission to protect special places in the region. Grey often sings about the changing landscape in northern Florida and his soulfulness and deep beliefs come through in his music. The concert will be held at Congaree and Penn Farm & Mills: 11830 Old Kings Road, Jacksonville, FL 32219. For more information and tickets, visit the NFLT site here.

December 6, 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free Recycle Right to Meet Industry Challenges Webinar - Florida has made great strides in increasing its recycling rates but shrinking global markets for recycling materials and increased “contamination” or non-recyclables in the stream are presenting daunting challenges for the industry.  Join Karen Moore, Recycling Manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Dawn McCormick, Chair of the Florida Recycling Partnership and Waste Management Director of Communications; and a County Recycling Manager as they discuss these challenges and cost implications for Florida’s counties, cities and businesses.  This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM for planners (#9162164) and .15 CEUs for Florida Environmental Health Professionals. 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved.  Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

January 19, 2019 - 10:00am-12:00pm - Rising Sea Levels- Are we losing our coastal cities? (Deerfield) - The Deerfield Progressive Forum will host Dr. Colin Polsky, Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies and Professor of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University, for a discussion of sea level rise and its impacts on Florida. For 39 years progressives in South Florida have been enlightened by a series of weekly talks presented by nationally distinguished speakers on provocative current issues. Lively discussion follows each talk. The Deerfield Progressive Forum meets every Saturday morning from December through March from 10:00 AM-noon in Century Village, Deerfield Beach. For more information, visit their site here.

January 22, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Preview Webinar - The 60-day 2019 Florida Legislative Session starts on March 5 and is scheduled to end on May 3 of 2019.  The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others.  1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that may be up for consideration during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and will discuss how this could impact state and local governance and planning in Florida. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162191) and .15 CEUs for Florida Environmental Health Professionals. 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved.  Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

March 27, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Update Webinar - This free webinar is scheduled for a little more than three weeks into the 2019 Florida Legislative Session. The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others. 1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that are being considered during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and other legislation that may surface as the session progresses. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162194). 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, Florida Environmental Health Professionals, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved. Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

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Petitions

End collection & removal of tropical marine life from Phil Foster Park

Stop the spraying of glyphosate herbicide in Florida waters

Stop Development on Fish Island along the Matanzas River

Thinking of going electric? Nextcar Pledge

Another Gulf is Possible

Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Protect Florida’s Gulf Coast from Offshore Drilling

Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

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