Quote of the Day: "It is, by common consent, a good thing for people to get back to nature." ~ Aldo Leopold
Read Fracking ban backed amid criticism- “Gov. Ron DeSantis’ call to ban “fracking” advanced Tuesday in the House and Senate as environmentalists argue the proposals don’t go far enough and the petroleum industry fights to allow the controversial drilling technique. With the groups opposing the bills for different reasons, some lawmakers were left explaining their support as the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee voted 10-2 to ban “hydraulic fracturing” for oil and natural gas (HB 7029). Later, the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee narrowly approved a broader version (SB 7064) that includes provisions on drilling in the Everglades. Rep. Kristin Jacobs, D-Coconut Creek, and Rep. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, labeled the House proposal a good “first step” to ban fracking, even if it doesn’t include language desired by environmentalists to address a similar technique called “matrix acidizing.”…The acidizing technique uses many of the same chemicals as in fracking, but it dissolves rocks with acid instead of fracturing them with pressurized liquid. The House version was improved slightly Tuesday in the eyes of environmentalists when bill sponsor Holly Raschein, a Key Largo Republican who chairs the subcommittee, made a change to narrow the definition of fracking from “injecting high volumes of fluids at a high rate” to simply “injecting fluids.” The narrow definition is not included in the Senate version. But the Senate bill seeks to provide oil-drilling protections for the Everglades. That move is a reaction to an ongoing legal battle over a Broward County landowner’s plan to drill an exploratory oil well on about five acres in the Everglades. The exploratory well would not involve fracking… Gladys Delgadillo, environmental policy specialist for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, pointed to concerns that the public will feel safe from fracking when the omission of matrix acidizing leaves “wiggle words” that could be used by the petroleum industry to engage in the practice…” Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida.
Read The Legislature advances two measures to stop local governments from banning plastic straws - “Florida legislators really don’t like the idea of local governments banning plastic straws, a movement which has grown in recent years. They dislike it so much they voted to support two different proposals introduced in the House Business & Professions Subcommittee on Tuesday to block cities and county governments from ever banning straws. One bill would fine any local government that banned straws $25,000, and the city or county would have to pay the attorney fees and costs for any entity that successfully sued over a local ordinance. The movement to ban plastic straws stems from concerns about the dangers that plastic is doing to the planet. An estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans annually, according to the United Nations Environmental Program…” Mitch Perry reports for the Florida Phoenix.
Read DeSantis, Cabinet weigh large land buy - “Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet next week are slated to consider buying 5,534 acres in Hendry County through the Florida Forever conservation program. Under the proposal, which is on the agenda for a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, the state would pay $14.775 million to Alico, Inc. for the land, which is part of what is known as the broader Devil’s Garden Florida Forever project. The Cabinet agenda said the targeted land includes 3,233 acres of uplands and 2,301 acres of wetlands. Also during the meeting, DeSantis and the Cabinet are slated to consider acquiring 160 acres in Columbia County. That proposal involves paying $518,400 to the Bar D Ranch Partnership for property within the Ichetucknee Trace Florida Forever project…” From the News Service of Florida.
Read U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor hopes to push Gov. DeSantis on climate change- “By any credible measurement, Florida is in serious trouble when it comes to combating the effects of climate change. A 2018 report published by Science magazine said no state will suffer more economic damage from a warming planet than the Sunshine State. And Florida is one of a minority of states in the country that has not established any renewable energy goals. That’s why Tampa Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor, the new chair of a special U.S. House committee on climate change, visited Tallahassee last week to speak with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. “We talked about how we’ve got to act with urgency to address climate and the clean energy economy,” Castor said a few hours after meeting with the governor. “Clearly the governor understands the threat to our economy, when we have Red Tide and toxic algae that lasts longer than ever before. So he’s done some positive things on resiliency and science,” she said. “I wanted him to understand how behind Florida is…” Mitch Perry reports for the Florida Phoenix.
Read EPA proposal poses public health risk - “With the long-lingering red tide outbreak having just recently receded, Floridians are learning that both their water and their air face a new threat. But the public also has a new opportunity to fight back. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it plans to reconsider how it weighs the cost of power-plant emission rules against their public-health benefits. Those rules, called Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, were strengthened under the Obama administration. As a result, mercury emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants declined by 77 percent, according to the EPA’s own estimates…” Editorial from the Herald-Tribune.
Read Endangered Florida panther dies after being hit by car - “An endangered Florida panther has died after being struck by a vehicle. It's the fifth fatal collision this year, out of seven total panther deaths. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the remains of a 7-month-old male panther were found Sunday in Collier County, northwest of Immokalee. Florida panthers once roamed the entire Southeast, but now their habitat mostly is confined to a small region of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. Up to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild…” From the Associated Press.
Read Students ask: Will adults keep ignoring threats posed by changing climate? - “Last year, 104 people lost their lives after fires ravaged almost 2 million acres in California. In recent years, hurricanes Irma and Michael caused tens of billions of dollars in damage in Florida. As the climate continues to change, it is expected that natural disasters will occur more frequently and with greater intensity. The pictures of towns set ablaze, of Floridians huddled in shelters, will become the norm, unless national and world leaders begin to take decisive action soon...Unchecked, climate change will devastate the earth for my generation. Irregular climate patterns will devastate farmers and lead to food insecurity, tens of millions of climate refugees will jeopardize our national security, increased pollution will lead to the death of millions, and billions of dollars of infrastructure will be threatened by rising sea levels. My generation will be paying the price for a crime we did not commit. While it is inspiring to see bipartisan strides (such as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ promise to clean Florida’s waters) in our state to protect our environment, addressing environmental issues remains an incredibly divisive issue in Washington. When politicians say the cost of addressing climate change is too steep, they fail to realize a simple reality — inaction will not save the economy, rather it steals from the next generation. Moreover, the argument that we must choose between the economy and the environment is flawed. Innovations in clean energy pave the way for a future that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, while creating tens of thousands of new jobs…” Vasakan Mahesan writes Opinion for the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events:
March 27 - 9:00am- 12:00pm - Volunteer Day at North Florida Land Trust’s Bogey Creek Preserve - (Jacksonville) - North Florida Land Trust is asking for volunteers to join them on Wednesday, March 27 for a day of cleaning up and getting Bogey Creek Preserve ready for its public debut. The nonprofit land conservation organization is putting the finishing touches on its first public park located on Cedar Point Road near Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park and the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Volunteers will be asked to help with trail clearing, mulching, trash cleanup and other maintenance tasks. Volunteers can pick from two shifts; either the morning shift from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or the afternoon shift from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Participants are asked to register for the shift of choice at https://www.nflt.org/calendarofevents/. It is recommended that volunteers wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Also, bring sunscreen, bug spray, snacks and water. Work gloves and other supplies will be provided. Volunteers must be 12 or older and volunteers who are 12 to 18 must be accompanied by an adult. (Bogey Creek Preserve, Cedar Point Road, Jacksonville Florida 32226).
March 27 - 12:00 PM -1:30 PM - 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/.
March 30 - 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM - Earth Hour 2019 - (Pensacola)- Join Earth Ethics, Inc. for a potluck, poetry and power off in recognition of Earth Hour 2019. Earth Hour is about uniting people around the global to share why nature matters and to continue raising awareness of our interconnectivity with nature. “As accelerating climate change and staggering biodiversity loss threaten our planet, Earth Hour 2018-2020 endeavors to spark never-before-had conversations on the loss of nature and the urgent need to protect it.” Join us at Pensacola Open Books Bookstore & Prison Book Project located at 1040 N Guillemard St, Pensacola, FL 32501 to share your story and vision for our future. Contact Mary at email@example.com for more information.
March 30 - 7:00 PM - Films for the Sea - (Pensacola) - Join Healthy Gulf for their Films for the Sea screenings related to the environment, surfing, and the health of our oceans. We’ll watch films that take us around the world to beautiful coastal places and the people who love them, from British Columbia and Hawaii to the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Beach. The work of local photographer and filmmaker Sean Mullins is included. Before and after the films there will be plenty of educational information on how citizens can take action to help to protect the Gulf of Mexico and local waterways. Beverages and food from Café Single Fin will be available. For much more information about Films for the sea please visit Healthy Gulf on Facebook or call 850-687-9968 or firstname.lastname@example.org (Waterboyz, 380 N. Ninth Ave., Pensacola).
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 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 email@example.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)
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.
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