Ron Saff reports for the Tallahassee Democrat – “As a medical doctor, I don’t know any patients who would want to drink partially treated poopy water, but if Floridians don’t call Gov. Rick Scott and demand he veto the toilet-to-tap bill, we may all soon be drinking it… This bill would encourage pumping of… partially treated sewage back into the drinking water aquifer. Then the partially treated effluent would flow from the aquifer into your drinking water glass when you turn on the tap. Proponents of the bill claim the poopy water would meet federal drinking water standards, but these guidelines are not strict enough and are woefully outdated. Pharmaceutical drugs, viruses and other pathogens, heavy metals and other toxins would not be filtered out. Who is behind this bad bill? The developers. They know Florida has a water shortage and realize in order to provide new homes and condos to those flocking to Florida, they must be able to provide water. There are much saner ways to deal with Florida’s water shortage. Tell Scott poppy water has no place in our drinking water. Call him at 850-488-7146 and… tell him to veto HB1149.” Read Say no to drinking poopy water
John Kennedy reports for the Herald Tribune – “Environmental groups are pushing Gov. Rick Scott to veto a measure that could allow treated wastewater to be pumped into Florida’s fragile, underground aquifer to help the state’s powerful building industry. Scott hasn’t vetoed any legislation yet this spring. But he has received more than 3,000 petition signatures from people opposing the reused water bill, on which the governor has until April 10 to act… ‘There are too many people, and not enough water,’ said David Cullen, lobbyist for the Sierra Club, who fought the measure in Tallahassee before it was overwhelmingly approved this month by the Legislature. The bill was sent Monday to Scott. ‘The idea is that if you can put… millions of gallons of treated wastewater back into the aquifer, developers won’t have any problem getting permits for projects in areas where there really isn’t enough water for them,’ said Cullen, who said stricter water conservation efforts are needed across Florida.” Read Environmentalists ask Rick Scott to veto ‘toilet-to-tap’ bill
Samantha Putterman reports for the Bradenton Herald – “Red tide blooms have hit Southwest Florida hard in recent weeks. The toxic algae causes fish kills, respiratory issues and contributes to several dozen manatee deaths each year. That’s why U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, says he sponsored legislation that will add $8 million to combat the blooms. Buchanan’s measure was passed by Congress as part of a government funding bill. ‘Red tide poses a serious threat to our environment, marine life and economy,’ Buchanan said, adding that his legislation will allow for greater research with the goal of reducing the problem. ‘We need to understand more about the toxins in red tide so we can stop the damaging effects.’” Read Florida waters continue to be hit with red tide. Millions added to combat blooms
Janet Marinelli reports for Yale Environment 360 – “While the massive wildfires and tree die-offs out West have gotten most of the press in recent years, the Eastern forests are also in crisis. An increasing number of the region’s iconic native trees are plagued by pests and pathogens introduced from abroad. This has researchers scrambling to find genes that can help impart resistance, and to breed them into the ailing trees. Because classical crossbreeding takes decades – perhaps too long for a critically endangered species like the torreya – options once unimaginable as conservation measures are now being considered, including the new group of gene-editing technologies called CRISPR that has taken the biotech world by storm… ‘As biodiversity continues to hemorrhage all around us,’ Wilson said, ‘we face a momentous moral decision that can be put in the form of a question: What kind of a species are we to treat the rest of life so cheaply?’ This, he added, ‘is not only a moral issue but an issue of survival.’ He then posed another question: ‘What will future generations think about how we have acted so carelessly?’” Read For Endangered Florida Tree, How Far to Go to Save a Species?
David Fleshler reports for the Sun Sentinel – “The Blue Water Fishermen’s Association, which represents longline fishermen who catch swordfish, tuna and other big fish along the east coast, has petitioned the federal government to reclassify from endangered to threatened the northwest Atlantic population of leatherbacks, which crawl up on Florida beaches every spring and summer to lay eggs. With the Pacific leatherback population crashing, they say the northwest Atlantic population should be classified separately so U.S. fishermen aren’t penalized for the failure of other countries to protect them… Opponents of the change say the leatherback’s Atlantic future only appears bright in comparison with the Pacific catastrophe. Despite the federal government’s claim that numbers have increased, they say, the most recent nest counts for many beaches have shown a decrease. And there have been worrisome indications of the effects of climate change, since temperature plays a major role in determining the ratio of male to female hatchlings, with warmer temperatures skewing the yield heavily toward females… The National Marine Fisheries Service has made an initial finding that the fishing group’s petition had provided substantial scientific information that the proposal ‘may be warranted.’ The agency will make a preliminary decision toward the end of the year.” Read Fight begins over fate of leatherback sea turtle
Andrew Buncombe reports for the Independent – “More than a dozen protesters who clambered into holes dug for a high pressure gas pipeline said they had been found not responsible by a judge after hearing them argue their actions to try and stop climate change were a legal ‘necessity.’ Karenna Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, was among more than 98 people who were arrested because of their 2015 actions protesting the pipeline in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, a neighborhood of Boston.” Read Anti-pipeline campaigners found not guilty by judge because ‘protest against climate change crisis’ was legal ‘necessity’
Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin report for The Washington Post – “Environmental Protection Agency staffers received a list of “talking points” this week instructing them to underscore the uncertainties about how human activity contributes to climate change… ‘Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner,’ reads one of the talking points. ‘The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.’… ‘The EPA administrator should not be in the business of telling scientists what they should say publicly about basic scientific information,’ said Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. ‘The implication is that EPA wants a political filter on all scientific information emerging from the government, especially if it has to do with climate change.’” Read EPA staffers get talking points playing down human role in climate change
Alessandra Potenza reports for The Verge – “More than half of Americans seem to think that climate change won’t affect them personally, a new poll shows… But climate change is already affecting us – so why don’t people realize that? The reason has to do with a mixture of politics and psychology. The poll… shows that many Americans ‘perceive climate change as a distant problem,’ says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. A lot of people think that we won’t bear the brunt of climate change until 2050 or 2100, and that other parts of the world will be affected, not the US, not their state, their city, or their community. ‘As a result it becomes psychologically distant. It’s just one of thousands other issues that are out there.’ If I have to worry about paying my hospital bills, I’m less concerned about melting sea ice in the Arctic… Unfortunately, scare tactics don’t work to change people’s beliefs and behavior. For people who do accept that climate change is real, it might feel like an insurmountable problem that’s just too big for any individual to tackle. People who don’t believe that human-caused climate change is altering the world may feel like the catastrophe scenarios are just hype… The percent of Americans who believed climate change is real dropped precipitously from 71 percent in 2008 to 57 percent in 2009. The culprit? Politics, according to a study Leiserowitz published in Environmental Politics last year. He found that the shift in how Americans perceived climate change overlapped with the rise of the tea party, which is known for its denial of global warming… In fact, the election of Donald Trump… altered attitudes further.” Read About half of Americans don’t think climate change will affect them – here’s why
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
April 3, 12:00 pm – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute for Springs Academy Tuesdays in High Springs. April’s lecture is a general introduction to springs with FSI Executive Director, Dr. Robert Knight. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 – 9369.
April 5, 6:30 pm – Attend the Sierra Club Adventure Coast Committee’s meeting at the Harvey Martin Democratic Center (3432 Deltona Boulevard) in Spring Hill. The meeting will feature the founder and national president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Lynn Ringenberg. Social begins at 6:30, followed by the meeting at 7. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (352) 277 – 3330.
April 7 – April 17 – Solar United Neighbors is hosting several solar co-op information sessions around Florida throughout the next few months. Attendees will learn about solar equipment, financing, and the benefits of joining a solar co-op. For a complete list of sessions, click here.
April 7, 1:00 pm – Attend EarthFest at the Sustainable Living Center (10665 SW 89th Ave.) in Hampton. There will be Auntie Sage Eco Story Telling for Kids, Paul’s Amazing Eco Trail Hikes, Eco Arts & Crafts, and more. For more information, email Earthman.Ty@gmail.com or call (352) 231 – 1648.
April 11, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussion Group at the Belvedere Library Community Room (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. Grant Wilson, J.D., Directing Attorney of Earth Law Center, will make a presentation via Skype on the rights of Nature and rivers. For more information and to RSVP, email email@example.com.
April 14, 11:00 am – Attend the Last Straw Campaign Kickoff in Pensacola. Learn how you can modify your lifestyle to say no to straws and what you can do to get others on board. For more information, click here or contact Mary Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 17-20 – Attend The Florida Native Plant Society’s 38th Annual Conference in Miami. For more information, click here.
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