Alex Harris reports for the Miami Herald – “[D]octors in Florida say the changing climate is a public health risk, one they already see evidence of in their waiting rooms right now. Now, some clinicians have formed a new group (Florida Clinicians for Climate Action) to sound the alarm… Heat worsens asthma, heart and lung disorders and even mental illnesses. Rising seas push floodwater polluted by leaky sewage pipes into neighborhoods. A changing climate helps spread mosquito-borne diseases (think Zika), and research shows it makes hurricanes stronger and more common. And who’s most vulnerable? The same people that always are, doctors say: low-income populations, the elderly and people of color… [Florida Clinicians for Climate Action] want to make sure everyone knows about the impacts of climate change and how to protect themselves, all the way from making sure high school coaches know how to teach their athletes the warning signs of heat exhaustion to explaining the benefit of community cooling centers in low-income neighborhoods to politicians.” Read If you live in Florida, doctors say climate change is already affecting your health
Susan Nugent writes for The Gainesville Sun – “Countries around the world have decried our continued reliance upon and use of fossil fuels. While we consume more energy, less-developed countries suffer most… Even here in the U.S. and more specifically in Gainesville, the poor, the elderly and newborns are more affected by climate issues… Jacqui Patterson, NAACP Environmental Justice Program national director, reminded us that a lack of zoning laws may attract businesses, but refineries don’t end up in the wealthy suburbs. Patterson noted student learning is affected when pollutants are situated near schools [and]… African Americans are three to five times more likely to end up at a hospital because of breathing issues… Our actions need to be both fair and just, for our youth, our vulnerable populations and our global community.” Read Weighing responsibility for climate change
Jennifer Portman reports for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Beyond showing where the water goes, [dye] studies highlight why the quality of the water matters… High nitrate levels have long been known to fuel growth of invasive plants and algae in Wakulla Springs, compromising its clarity and health. In 2015, the Alliance team began suspecting another pollutant might be causing the dark and greening water that has ended the spring’s iconic glass-bottom boat tours – chlorophyll made by algae blooms in lakes. Studies by Leon County found Upper Lake Lafayette has high levels of chlorophyll. The city of Tallahassee recently upgraded Weems storm water treatment facility, which is intended to improve the quality of water entering the lake. Other lakes in basin connected to Wakulla Springs, including Jackson and Munson, also contain contaminants and have algae blooms that likely impact the spring system, Alliance members and other scientists say. They hope their research will provide the basis for further warter quality improvements.” Read Live and let dye: Researchers plumb depths of sinkhole to help heal Wakulla Springs
David Fleshler reports for the Sun Sentinel – “A Texas company has resumed the search for oil along Alligator Alley, exploring the home of Florida panthers, black bears and other wildlife for potential places to drill. Burnett Oil Co. has sent workers in on foot to scout out areas for seismic operations across 110 square miles of Big Cypress National Preserve… [A]s soon as the land becomes dry enough, the company will send in specially equipped trucks to pound the ground with steel plates, producing vibrations that will be gauged for evidence of the geologic structures that could contain oil… Alison Kelly, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said environmentalists were concerned not only about the possibility of drilling but about the disruption caused by the heavy vehicles, known as “vibroseis trucks,” lumbering through the preserve… ‘…[T]he exploration itself is extremely damaging, since the oil company is driving large vehicles off-road through wetlands and wildlife habitat, as well as cutting down and running over vegetation, such as mature dwarf cypress trees.’… ‘The (2017) seismic exploration caused visible and extensive damage to soils and vegetation due to the size and weight of the vibroseis trucks, which repeatedly got stuck in wetlands.’… The preserve represents the largest single piece of Florida panther habitat, as well as important habitat for a wide range of other species, including red-cockaded woodpeckers, wading birds, bobcats, deer and alligators.” Read Oil search resumes at Big Cypress
Katrina Elsken reports for Okeechobee News – “Sending the excess freshwater from Lake Okeechobee south, rather than east and west, may not be enough to save Florida Bay… The freshwater available is not enough to restore historic flow – and restoring historic flow may not be enough in the face of rising sea levels.” Read Sending more water south may not be enough to offset sea level rise
Buster Thompson reports for the Citrus County Chronicle – “A decontamination project in Crystal River that was halted in late March after it pumped turbid water into King’s Bay may have another problem. City Manager Dave Burnell told the city council… the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s excavation site at the southwest corner of U.S. 19 and the Crosstown Trail weakened a nearby aquifer underneath the highway. Burnell… added there is a threat that neighboring surfaces could collapse as a result but DEP is working to fix the issue.” Read Workers may have pierced aquifer
Amy Perry writes for the TC Palm – “Like my father and the three generations before him, I plan to work on our farm and continue contributing to our domestic food supply for American families. My plans following college could drastically change should anti-American farming forces in Washington prevail… [T]hese groups are seeking to upend decades of our country’s longstanding and successful sugar policy.” Read Anti-American forces seek to upend successful sugar policy
The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “On offshore drilling, only Nelson has earned Floridians’ trust. Nelson helped to negotiate the 2006 deal that extended the moratorium in the Gulf to 2022. With Marco Rubio, Nelson has sponsored legislation that would continue the ban until 2027. Because Zinke keeps hedging on that ‘off the table’ pledge, Nelson has blocked confirmation of three Interior Department nominees until Zinke presents a new plan that omits Florida.” Read Trump, Gov. Rick Scott too slippery on oil drilling
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.
Volusia County Manatee Program Associate – Contact Debbie Wingfield for info.
Upcoming Environmental Events
April 13, 10:00 am - Join the Florida Springs Institute and St. Johns Riverkeeper Middle Basin Office on an outing to the Seminole State Forest springs in Sorrento. Space is limited to 20 people. For more information and to register, click here.
April 14, 10:00 am – Attend a Florida Panther Outreach Workshop in Venus. Come learn more about Florida panthers and get ideas about what you can do to help your friends and neighbors embrace their recovery, while safely sharing the landscape. Attendees will enjoy a complimentary lunch while they hear from Florida panther experts and get information on projects that help reduce conflict and assist people in living responsibly with panthers. There will be short scrub walk after the workshop. For more information and to sign up, click here.
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.
April 16 – 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 19, 7:00 pm – Attend “Garden for Wildlife with Native Plants” in Tallahassee. David Mizejewski will focus on restoring wildlife habitat in our cities, towns and neighborhoods through the use of native plants. For more information, click here.
April 21, 4:00 pm – Participate in Hike for the Corridor 2018 in Gainesville. Participants will hike to show they want Florida’s land conservation programs fully funded and the Florida Wildlife Corridor protected. For more information, click here.
April 22, 2:00 pm – Participate in ELAPP’s Florida Wildlife Corridor Connection 9-Mile Hike in Plant City. For more information, click here.
April 23, 4:00 pm – Attend a viewing of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power at the Mary Esther Public Library (100 W Hollywood Blvd) in Mary Esther. For more information, click here.
April 27-28 – Attend the Florida Wildflower Symposium in Orlando. For more information, click here.
May 1, 12:00 pm – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center in High Springs for Springs Academy Tuesdays; a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs. May’s lecture is on “Springs Hydrogeology: Floridan Aquifer, Groundwater Recharge, Spring Flows” with FSI Executive Director, Dr. Robert Knight. All lecture are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 – 9369.
May 3, 6:30 pm – Watch Mac Stone’s TED talk on “the Amazing Everglades” at the Harvey Martin Democratic Center (3432 Deltona Boulevard) in Spring Hill. After the TED Talk, Dr. Tom St. Clair will comment on Everglades ecology and restoration. For more information, email email@example.com or call (352) 277 – 3330.
May 9, 12:44 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussion Group at the Belvedere Library Community Room (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Sierra Club Organizing Rep., will make a presentation entitled “Urban Fertilizers… Connections to Our Lawns, Landscape, and Florida’s Waters. Shari Blissett-Clark, Pres. Of the FL Bat Conservancy, will make a presentation entitled “Bats in Florida’s Backyards.” For more information and to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 17-20 – Attend The Florida Native Plant Society’s 38th Annual Conference in Miami. For more information, click here.
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.
We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest and most relevant environmental news for Floridians. Our hope is that you will use this information to more effectively and frequently contact your elected representatives, and add your voice to the growing chorus of Floridians concerned about the condition of our environment and the recent direction of environmental policies.
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About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 80 conservation-minded organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.
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