FCC News Brief - April 5, 2019

Quote of the Day: “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” 
― Theodore Roosevelt

Read Florida lawmaker says climate change deserves more attention - “As the legislative session continues in the Florida Capitol, advocates question if lawmakers are making climate change a priority. In the 2019 legislative session the house and senate filed 3,400 bills. Those pertaining to climate change are in the overwhelming minority. Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami) is one of the few lawmakers calling for more attention to the issue. The Miami Democrat is known for wearing rain boots to session everyday with #Actionclimatefl handwritten across them...Senate Bill 78 aims at mandating a sea level impact analysis before new state funded coastal construction projects. The Miami senator is frustratrated with the lack of urgency dealing with climate change in the capitol. The senator believes the lack of action is a mixture of lawmakers believing climate change legislation is will be expensive and not making it a priority…” Kevin Del Orbe reports for WLRN.

Read First forecast: experts predict 5 hurricanes this season - “After yet another catastrophic hurricane season in the United States in 2018, which featured such ferocious storms as Florence and Michael, top hurricane forecasters have taken their first prediction for the 2019 season, which begins June 1. Thanks to a weak El Niño, experts are calling for a "slightly below-average Atlantic hurricane season." Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach and other experts from Colorado State University – regarded as the nation's top seasonal hurricane forecasters – predict 13 named tropical storms will form, of which five will become hurricanes. An average season has 12 tropical storms, of which six are hurricanes...Last year, Florence and Michael combined to kill over 100 Americans and cost nearly $50 billion in damage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said…” Doyle Rice reports for USA Today.

Read Trump whiffed big opportunity during Lake Okeechobee visit - “President Trump got another $2 million last weekend. The Everglades is still waiting. Before hosting a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, the president visited Lake Okeechobee and the lakefront town of Canal Point. Assembled Republicans wanted to hear him talk about the lake and water quality. Mostly, they hoped to hear him say he would increase his proposed Everglades budget from $63 million to the $200 million they say is needed. Hopes were high, given that Trump had just changed his mind about gutting the Special Olympics and had just agreed to fully fund the $300 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative after having proposed massive cuts. Instead, the president issued only the Trump University-sounding promise that money is “Coming. Soon. And a lot more than you would ever believe,”...In an increasingly polarized political world, Florida has found an issue that unites the parties. Florida’s economy depends on a healthy environment. If Trump won’t commit to that $200 million, a Democrat seeking the state’s 29 electoral votes surely would promise it – and much more…” From the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board.

Read Florida Senate joins in trying to clamp down on citizen-led ballot measures - “With ballot measures underway for next year that could raise the minimum wage, ban assault weapons and deregulate the utility industry, the Senate on Monday joined the House in making it tougher for these proposals to get before Florida voters. The Republican-led Legislature has tangled for years with citizen initiatives, which have led to class-size limits, approval of medical marijuana, voter rights restoration and new redistricting standards — all steps opposed by lawmakers in control of Tallahassee. Next year’s loaded lineup of ballot proposals is again alarming many powerful GOP backers, including business groups, the NRA and Florida’s investor-owned utilities. A House committee already has advanced a measure containing restrictions similar to those approved Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 4-2, party-line vote, with Democrats opposed. Critics of the bill (SB 7096) condemned it as aimed at stifling the voice of voters. “It’s hard to see this as anything other than an attempt to put more obstacles in the path for citizens of Florida trying to have their voices heard,” said Kara Gross of the American Civil Liberties Union. Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, said the majority party was attacking the “mechanism made for the people” and that “organizations that are in control here in Tallahassee” are calling for the new restrictions. But Judiciary Chair David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, defended the approach, saying it was intended to preserve the “integrity” and “accountability” of the citizens’ initiative process. He said many believe that out-of-state special interests are engaged in a “hijacking of our constitution…” John Kennedy reports for GateHouse Capital Bureau.

Read Solar energy and solar jobs are on the rise in Florida- “It’s time for everyone to put on sunglasses and see the light: Solar is great for the Florida economy. Solar employment in Florida grew by 21 percent in 2018, even though nationally there was a 3.2 percent decline. Florida is now second in the United States for solar jobs after California. Total solar employment in our state grew to 10,358, according to the Solar Foundation’s Solar Jobs Census 2018. Residential solar installation accounts for 63 percent of these jobs. Nationally the entry level (non-electrician) solar installer job paid about $19 per hour. These are good jobs in a growing industry….Many local political leaders have helped grow solar across Florida especially in Orlando and Orange County. Orange had 632 solar jobs last year, a growth rate of 30 percent. Just think what would happen on the solar jobs front if our governor and Legislature supported residential solar. Some of the credit for the increase in residential solar in Florida goes to the nonprofit group started in 2015 in Orange County, Solar United Neighbors of Florida. More than 1,300 Floridians put 12 megawatts of solar power on their homes in the last 3½ years with the help of the 45 Solar United Neighbors’ co-ops. This generated $26 million in business for Florida installers…” Michael Cohen writes Guest Column for the Orlando Sentinel.

Read Sea turtles are being born mostly female due to warming - will they survive? - “Camryn Allen, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Hawaii, had spent her early career using hormones to track koala bear pregnancies. Then she started using similar techniques to help colleagues quickly answer a surprisingly hard question: whether a sea turtle is male or female. You can't always tell which is which just by looking. That often requires laparoscopy, viewing the turtle's internal organs by inserting a thin camera. Allen figured out how to do it using blood samples, which made it easier to check lots of turtles quickly. That mattered because the heat of sand where eggs are buried ultimately determines whether a sea turtle becomes male or female. And since climate change is driving up temperatures around the world, researchers weren't surprised that they'd been finding slightly more female offspring...But when Allen saw results from her research on Raine Island, Australia—the biggest and most important green sea turtle nesting ground in the Pacific Ocean—she realized how serious things might get. Sand temperatures there had increased so much, she and a team of scientists reported last year, that female baby turtles now outnumber males 116 to 1…” Craig Welch reports for National Geographic.

From Our Readers

The information in this section is forwarded to you at the request of some of our readers. Inclusion in this section does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the FCC.

Job Openings:

Sustainability Administrator - City of Fort Lauderdale

Marine Science Faculty Position- Florida Keys Community College

Education Specialist - Nature’s Academy

Executive Director - Friends of Gumbo Limbo

Upcoming Environmental Events:

April 4 & 5 - International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society - (Miami Gardens) - At the second International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society hosted by St. Thomas University and The Nature Conservancy, a diverse group of leaders from multiple faiths and sustainability focused organizations will gather in South Florida to discuss our changing climate, implications and solutions. The conference will explore how participants and communities of faith can take action to address climate challenges. Together, we can implement solutions that are respectful and supportive of the nature that sustains us and must sustain future generations, and preserve the environment that renews our spirits. Registration and agenda.  Moot Court, School of Law, St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054    View Map - Directions. Thursday, April 4 from 9am-5pm and Friday, April 5 from 9am-12pm.

April 8 & 9 - Everglades Action Day - (Tallahassee) - The Everglades Coalition is hosting an advocacy day at the Florida State Capitol (400 Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301). Join fellow advocates from all corners of the state and meet with legislators to discuss the importance of a healthy Everglades ecosystem for a clean water supply and for a strong economy. Your voice on Everglades Action Day ensures that the famed ecosystem remains a top priority for elected officials! New to advocacy? No problem. Training and materials will be provided. The Everglades Coalition will sponsor group transportation to make it easy for all to get to Tallahassee (we have an east coast and a west coast bus). Click here to register, see you in Tallahassee! 

April 8 - 6:00 PM - Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series - (Pensacola) - Join us on Monday, April 8th beginning at 6 p.m. at Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden   Street, Pensacola, FL 32502 for Earth Ethics April Environmental Education Series.  Earth Ethics in partnership with Earth Day Network is celebrating and supporting those who “protect our species”. This month we welcome Dorothy Kaufmann, Director at the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida. Ms. Kaufmann’s Giving Wildlife A Second Chance presentation will discuss the organizations care of injured or orphaned wildlife including medical care, fostering, rehabilitate and wildlife release. Stay up to date on the event on Facebook here. Or if your not on social media, let us know you’ll be joining us by getting your free tickets at Eventbrite here.

April 9 - Nationwide Youth Lobby Event - (Tallahassee) - Our Climate and NextGen Florida are participating in a Nationwide Youth Lobby Dayby organizing young people in Tallahassee on April 9. We'll head up the evening before to the Florida People's Advocacy Center (603 N Martin Luther King Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32301), then . We have opportunities to attend lobbying webinars with our team: Distributed Youth Lobby Day -- How to Lobby Your Elected Official Webinar, and information on how to plan a Distributed Youth Lobby Day near you. Register for the Tallahassee trip at bit.ly/flyld and share the opportunity with any young people in your life!

April 10 - 1:00pm- 2:45pm - Villages Environmental Discussions Group - (The Villages) - Villages Environmental Discussions Group (VEDG) will hold its next program on Wednesday, April 10, from 1:00 to 2:45 p.m., at Belvedere Library Community Room, (325 Belvedere Blvd., The Villages, FL 32162.) The guest speaker will be Ryan Armstrong, Manager of Bargains & Blessings Resale store, which is located at 301 N. Main St., Wildwood, FL. Ryan will discuss the work performed in 2014 by volunteers of the United Methodist Church, New Covenant United Methodist Church of The Villages, and men from House of Hope, who helped to renovate and transform the 8,000 square feet to create the resale shop. He will also describe some of the most important successes of this community resale shop. One may purchase quality, affordable furniture, major appliances, clothing, and household goods at the shop. Proceeds of these sales benefit local families who are aided by the Helping Hands Ministry. This program is FREE and open to all. Bring your neighbor and some questions. For additional information, send your note to raivedg@gmail.com.

April 12-13 - 10th Annual Florida Wildflower Symposium - (Gainesville) - The Florida Wildflower Foundation’s signature annual event, focusing exclusively on the state’s native wildflowers and their ecosystems. The purpose of the event is to immerse participants in an educational experience that exposes them to the reality of Florida’s environmental challenges while giving them the tools to affect change. The symposium will offer field trips to local natural areas, hands-on workshops, and educational presentations by experts on planting and growing native wildflowers, creating habitat for pollinators, and much more. Straughn UF/IFAS Extension Professional Development Center 2142 Shealy Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608. For more information and registration, visit the website here.

April 13 - 11:00AM-3:00PM - Earth Day Celebration - (Fort Walton Beach) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc. for an Earth Day Celebration at Liza Jackson Park, 338 Miracle Strip Parkway SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548. The theme for Earth Day 2019 is  "to protect our species”. We will have vendors that will support the theme, but others will include recycling, hybrid vehicles, solar energy, water education, plastic pollution, and more! This year Earth Day FWB is partnering with Drive Electric Earth Day website. Interested in being a vendor? Click here. Interested in being a sponsor? Click here. Stay up to date on the event’s activities at the Facebook event site here,   and website here.

April 13 - 9:30 AM-4:00 PM - Recognizing the Rights of Nature in Florida Law - (Apopka) - Speak Up Wekiva has organized a workshop featuring the Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to discuss a campaign to bring Rights of Nature to Florida’s charter counties. This particular meeting is for community organizers who have an understanding about the Rights of Nature movement and are ready to take action in Florida.  Space is limited-please email ChuckforFlorida@gmail.com to RSVP and ask for more information.

April 20 - 6:30 PM - Film screening of “Woman at War” - (Pensacola)- Join Earth Ethics, Inc, in partnership with Pensacola Cinema Art, for a viewing of “Woman at War”. This is a foreign Indie film based in Iceland that conveys a global message relatable to all Earth Warriors. “Woman at War is confronting some of the heaviest dilemmas of our time (e.g. how do we bring new life into a broken world).” Although fantastical, the climate change theme and how we deal with these issues is prominently displayed throughout the film.Join us at Studer Community Institute, 220 W. Garden Street (former Sun Trust building), Pensacola, FL. You must RSVP through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/woman-at-war-movie-viewing-tickets-58810076522 in order to reserve your seating. Seating is limited to 30 spots. Tickets, to paid at the door, are $7 and includes free popcorn, wine or water, and light refreshments. There is free off-street parking for attendees. Contact Mary at earthethicsaction@gmail.com for more information.

April 27 - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM - The Water Festival - (Deland) - The Volusia Water Alliance invites one and all to a street party celebrating water with a day of fun activities and performances in historic downtown DeLand. The festival will feature live mermaids, sidewalk chalk artists, dance and musical performances, a Blessing of the Waters (a Native American tradition), children’s games and activities, a Dog Zone, educational displays, and vendor booths. Visit VolusiaWater.org for more information. Admission is FREE. A few sponsorships and vendor spaces are still available. (West Indiana Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720) 

April 27 - 12:00pm - The League of Women Voters Broward County Annual Luncheon featuring former Governor Bob Graham - (Margate) - Members and non-members alike are invited to join the Broward County chapter of the League of Women Voters on Saturday, April 27 at the Carolina Golf Club (3011 Rock Island Road, Margate, FL). Keynote speaker Bob Graham, former Florida Governor and US Senator, founder of the Save the Everglades movement, and a beloved figure in Florida politics, will speak about how and why we should participate in our democracy today. Reserve your tickets by April 19 by visiting this link: Order tickets here. Send questions or special needs to info@lwvbroward.org.

May 16-19 - 39th Annual Florida Native Plant Society Conference - (Crystal River)- Our theme this year "Transitions" is pertinent to the Nature Coast region of Florida in a number of ways - sea level rise, migrations of ecosystems due to climate change, and the transition zone between north and south Florida.  You will be delighted by mind-expanding experiences, tempted by sumptuous meals (including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free) and amazed by the networking and social opportunities. As always, we will offer an abundance of presentations and workshops. 9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429 . Click here for attendee and vendor registration.

Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.


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