Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
This is a good-news story.
|American Bald Eagle|
“Fed by a natural spring, rainfall and stormwater runoff, water from Lake Apopka flows through the Apopka-Beauclair Canal and into Lakes Beauclair and Dora. From Lake Dora, water flows into Lake Eustis, then into Lake Griffin and then northward into the Ocklawaha River, which flows into the St. Johns River” (Wikipedia).
This grand flow that starts north of Orlando is also joined west of Ocala by the crystal-clear waters of Silver River and ends up exiting the state at Jacksonville. It’s an extraordinary hydrologic system and an exquisite underpinning segment of north-central Florida’s water make-up.
Decades of abuse and lack of understanding of their impacts by local communities and farmers, however, who ditched, diked and drained 18,000-20,000 acres of marshlands along the north shore, caused the lake, for lack of a better way to describe it, to die.
|Florida Marsh Hen|
In 1984, I left as director of the St. Johns River Water Management District after over five years redesigning the way the U.S. Corps of Engineers had intended to ditch, dike and drain 2,000 square miles of the Upper St. Johns River drainage basin and divert its flows south toward the Everglades. It was a bruising exercise but one that resulted in a showcase system where today environmentalists, developers, farmers and governmental interests have been brought together in support of common goals.
|Great Blue Heron|
It was gratifying to actually see and experience at least one significant success by those who spent their careers – decades - identifying and addressing Florida’s growing water-related problems and finding ways to revert such damage or prevent it from becoming a continuing inevitability into the future.
The health of Florida’s natural systems is directly related to the health of the state’s future economic well-being. It is a false premise that protection of Florida’s natural systems and the legal mechanisms it entails are antithetical to free enterprise and the spirit of entrepreneurial viability.
These are a few photos that bear witness.
Posted by Sandspur at 10/10/2018 10:57:00 AM
Friday, September 14, 2018
Florida Chamber of Commerce - Outlining Goals for Florida in 2030The Tampa Bay Times reported this morning that the Florida Chamber of Commerce has put together its "business competitiveness goals for Florida 2030. It's worth noting that high on the list (3rd of 7) is this concern: "Florida's environmental permitting and land use processes (are) among the most complex in the nation."
Thus, we can expect to see the Fla. Chamber continuing to support the defunding and defanging of the state's environmental laws and agencies which has been devastated over the last 8 years under Rick Scott's regime through the next decade. And, along with it, the continuing decline, exploitation and loss of Florida's sensitive and unique natural systems to the greed of powerful special interests like mining, power, land developers, etc., and the lobbyists and consultants who serve them. This is their plan for the next 10 years, as if we haven't had enough environmental disasters for the last eight.
Consider the above in context with the pressures our state's natural systems are under even today from the following realities: 1) Florida is the 3rd most populated in the country - over 20 million; 2) Florida is the 3rd fastest growing in the country - about 365,000 new residents per year, or 1000 per day, or one city the size of Tampa per year; 3) Florida is visited each year by a record number of visitors - over 100 million each year, or about one third of the nation's total population (330 million) per year.
There shouldn't be any wonder why Florida absolutely must have some of the most complex environmentally protective laws and rules in the country if the very reason all those people want to come here in the first place is going to be around for a few more generations, much less forever. Florida has some of the most sensitive, beautiful and complex natural ecosystems in the country. Why else would all those folks want to visit? If we let them be exploited to extinction we will have destroyed our bounty of golden eggs right along with the very goose that laid them. How bright is that?
All the more reason for you to get to the polls in November and stop the pillage of our great state by electing people who will make the right decisions on behalf of Florida and its future, instead of the power of the party and the interests of special interests. Haven't we had enough of that?
Gillum, the FBI and a boatAlso today, the TBT has a front page item about the continuing saga concerning rumors of an FBI investigation of Andrew Gillum for alleged public corruption. A close read of the article will lead one to believe it looks like a whole lot of smoke being blown at an issue that has no fire. The FBI says he's not the target of an investigation and are warning those looking at it not to conclude there have been any unlawful transgressions.
The article is all about the significance of Gillum's photo in the boat with some undercover FBI agents. Even though the FBI says he's not a target, no charges have been filed and people should be careful not to read anything miscreant into it, the article notes the DeSantis crowd will likely huff loudly and treat it as a great cloud of evil hanging over Gillum's head. So when you hear of it know for what it is, the fodder of prevaricators coming from an opponent's camp who after years in Washington won't discuss his positions on relevant issues because he needs to do more study and research. What?
By the way, be sure to read Bart Bibler's response to those who think Gillum's a socialist HERE
Posted by Sandspur at 9/14/2018 11:42:00 AM
Thursday, September 13, 2018
I received the following in an email from Bart Bibler, a former employee of DEP who in was reportedly fired by the Scott administration for using the words "climate change" or "global warming" during a department meeting. DEP officials later denied the allegation. (See the St. Petersburg Times report HERE.)
His words here are relevant and worth your time. It supports Andrew Gillum for Governor and I agree. And, remember, I'm a Republican. -Sandspur
Labeling is an old Republican tactic. Tie it into Venezuela; he’ll give everything away; the next step is Communism; etc.
Instead, he is trying to move us away from Extreme Capitalism, toward Cooperative Capitalism.
A Capitalism that cares about everyone, that cares about the environment, that recognizes that there are responsibilities, and not just rights. That understands that we must work together to find solutions to gun safety, to address the climate change and water quality crises, to provide health care access and a living wage, to provide quality public education for all, to create job opportunities for all, to reform our criminal justice system and restore dignity, productivity, and voting rights, and so much more.
Rick Scott and Donald Trump are the poster children of Extreme Capitalism, both buying their positions with money made from unscrupulous business and exploitation, and willing to do anything to win. They have destroyed any semblance of trust; the concept that a deal is a bond. And Ron DeSantis is their clone and proxy. Their policies are for the wealthy, because they are wealthy and they are the party of business over people and the environment, the party for the richest one percent. They are both personally getting wealthier due to the policies that they have put in place, for their businesses that they continue to benefit from. For their donors, they have dismantled our growth management, energy management, and environmental protection agencies. They have eliminated access to healthcare for millions here in Florida, and sabotaged the public hospitals and health insurance system. They’ve privatized our prisons, which are packed with black non-violent offenders. They have encouraged the shifting of public funds to private charter schools, while public schools and teacher wages are eroded, and additional testing and gun safety requirements are added to their burden. And women’s rights or LGBTQ rights – forget about it.
Andrew Gillum is a man who has overcome family challenges, economic challenges, and racial challenges. Instead of becoming angry, mean and greedy, he became driven to lead positive change. He did that through education and elected public service. He has moved our great city forward on a number of important issues: discussion and improvement of race relations; enhancement of community policing and body cameras; reduction of our carbon emissions and construction of a 120-acre, 20 megawatt solar farm; challenging state laws enacted for the NRA restricting local gun control ordinances; declaring that Tallahassee would accept and welcome immigrants; promoting entrepreneurialism, job creation and jobs for felons that have served their time; funding major improvements in our infrastructure, including stormwater, advanced wastewater treatment and septic tank-to-sewer projects to improve water quality; restoration of Gulf Coast Amtrak Passenger Rail Service; etc.
I am proud to have Andrew Gillum representing our city, while leading the way for positive change for all of Florida and the nation. Make no mistake about it, this is a Climate Change Crisis Showdown. This is a Gun Control Showdown. This is a Race Relations Showdown. This is a Religious Diversity and Tolerance Showdown. This is a Public Education Showdown. This is a Women’s Rights and LGBTQ Rights Showdown. This is a Toxic Algae, Land Conservation and Environmental Protection Showdown.
But overall - this is a Showdown of Extreme Capitalism versus Cooperative Capitalism.
The eyes of the world are on us.
Bart Bibler, Tallahassee
Posted by Sandspur at 9/13/2018 10:34:00 AM
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Recently, I received an email from a new organization called Florida Conservation Voters. If you love Florida, you might want to take a moment to think about what it says, but first let me share my thoughts.
For several years, about 8 now, it has become clear that our political representation in Tallahassee has turned away from concern and care for what makes our great state what it is, its natural systems. Without its natural systems in robust good health, Florida's economy, which is so dependent upon a quality experience for the 100-plus million visitors that come to enjoy them each year, is doomed. Anyone who has lived here more than just few years can quickly recount examples of how much better our lakes, our forests, our coasts, our wildlife, our rivers - the list is endless - used to be.
On many occasions and political levels, I have lamented the fact that the state's natural environment, specifically its protection and restoration, has no real political voice. Yes, there are environmental groups like Audubon, Sierra Club and a host of other very prominent and effective conservation voices out there but most if not all of them raise money to exist and to pay for their ability to raise questions and educate about environmental issues of concern. None of these organizations, however, to my knowledge are lawfully authorized to be able to raise and spend money to contribute to a campaign or advocate the election or defeat of a specific politician as special interests and their lobbyists do. This has been a huge weakness, in my opinion, in the ability of the environmental community to be able to get the attention of elected officials the way special interests have. Simply and sadly put, money speaks.
The email I received from Florida Conservation Voters raises new hope that this weakness is being overcome and I for one am going to support it all I can. Whether you are a D, R, or I, please visit their website at http://www.fcvoters.org/ and support them. Your children and theirs will thank you. Here's the email:
From: Jonathan Webber <email@example.com>
Date: October 20, 2016 at 12:22:57 PM EDT
For too long, Tallahassee politicians have been allowed to vote against our environment at the Capitol, then claim to be environmental heroes during election time. It is our job (this means you, too!) to make sure our elected officials know that Florida’s environment is more than just a campaign talking point. No matter your party or district, Florida’s parks, waterways, and conservation lands matter to the future of our state.
Together, we are building a new movement in Florida – where conservation doesn’t have a party.
Florida Conservation Voters
Posted by Sandspur at 10/25/2016 12:16:00 PM