So Local Pasco, July 5th, 2016. “Toxic Algae Sludge Crisis…Not a Band Name” Edition

I am sometimes filled with wonder at us.  Sometimes, I am filled with disgust.  Sometimes, both at once.

The Wonder and the Awfulness of Us

Right now, I am writing this while watching the NASA/JPL feed of the Juno Spacecraft entering the orbit of Jupiter.  It’s going well…Every ‘landmark’ has been met, so far…The approach, adjustment of the spacecraft attitude, the spinning up rotation for stability, and the engine burn…All have gone perfectly.

Juno launch five years ago, Indian River Lagoon in the foreground.
Juno launch five years ago, Indian River Lagoon in the foreground.

We are SO capable.  And yet…
THIS is the Indian River Lagoon, this month…

Indian River Lagoon algae bloom, this month.  We are failing ourselves, our environment, and our children.
Indian River Lagoon algae bloom, this month. We are failing ourselves, our environment, and our children.

A Crisis a Century in the Making is Upon Us

I strive in this podcast to bring us good news, as often as possible.  But we cannot put our heads in the sand, and pretend there are not problems.  Some seem so large, fixing them seems beyond our control.  But there is ALWAYS something we can do.

An enormous crisis is upon us.  It is not theoretical, or possible, or debatable.  It is HERE.  It has been coming for decades…And we have failed to act to prevent it.  NOW we will be faced with consequences of that failure.  Unfortunately, we have continued to elect officials that have ignored, or even exacerbated the problems.

I am not feeling like flinching away from showing pictures of what is happening, in our state, right now…Because over the long weekend, this stopped being a south Florida problem, or an Atlantic coast problem…And became a Gulf of Mexico problem, as Lee County was added to the list of counties effected by the algae bloom emergency:

Manatee being given water from a garden hose, because the canal water is so full of algae, it is undrinkable.
Manatee being given water from a garden hose, because the canal water is so full of algae, it is undrinkable.
Boats docked at Central Marine in Stuart, Fla., are surrounded by blue green algae, Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Officials want federal action along the stretch of Florida's Atlantic coast where the governor has declared a state of emergency over algae blooms. The Martin County Commission is inviting the president to view deteriorating water conditions that local officials blame on freshwater being released from the lake, according to a statement released Wednesday. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via AP)
Boats docked at Central Marine in Stuart, Fla., are surrounded by blue green algae, Wednesday, June 29, 2016. Officials want federal action along the stretch of Florida’s Atlantic coast where the governor has declared a state of emergency over algae blooms. The Martin County Commission is inviting the president to view deteriorating water conditions that local officials blame on freshwater being released from the lake, according to a statement released Wednesday. (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via AP)
160325132042-florida-fish-kill-indian-river-okeechobee-weather-orig-00001827-exlarge-169
Fish Kill in Stuart, Florida

2016-07-02t22-54-34-5z--1280x720.nbcnews-ux-1080-600Algae-Bloom-4-jpg-jpgfl-algae_04


How Did This Happen?

In the podcast, I give a BRIEF, and far too simplified explanation of where we are, and why.  Decisions made decades ago to protect human lives, compounded by failures to repair dike systems, and to hold polluters accountable in favor of profits, have led us here.

The September 1928 hurricane killed at LEAST 2,500 people around Lake Okeechobee, prompting development ofmassive dike, levee, and canal systems to protect human life.  The environmental cost, while much slower to accrue, is now upon us.
The September 1928 hurricane killed at LEAST 2,500 people around Lake Okeechobee, prompting development of massive dike, levee, and canal systems to protect human life. The environmental cost, while much slower to accrue, is now upon us.
The historic flow of flood waters, versus the CURRENT flow of released waters...The water now goes directly to the Atlantic AND the Gulf...And carries with it massive nutrient load from chemical fertilizers used in agriculture AND residential lawn maintenance.
The historic flow of flood waters, versus the CURRENT flow of released waters…The water now goes directly to the Atlantic AND the Gulf…And carries with it massive nutrient load from chemical fertilizers used in agriculture AND commercial & residential lawn maintenance.

 

We Are NOT Exempt, Here in Pasco County

We can expect similar problems to being occurring all along the Gulf Coast of Florida.  It is not speculation.  The tens of thousands  of residential lawns, the thousands of golf courses, the thousands of commercial properties…As well as our OWN agricultural pollutants are going to create similar problems HERE.  In our waters.

This is an alarming situation…It is time for us to begin changing the culture that expects, sanctions, and loves vast expanses of green lawns.  Even the grasses used are part of the problem, as they require vast amounts of water, fertilizer, and pesticides to prosper.

This will require a cultural change, and I am just not sure we are strong enough for the coming fight.

Here are links to two EXCELLENT articles about this crisis…I strongly recommend you click through, and read them.  This is too important to ignore:

Fishermen Unite Against Big Sugar:  Miami New Times

Miami Herald Editorial Article On the Crisis, July 3rd, 2016


Join me today at West Side Deli from 12:45pm to 2pm, for Crazy Good Food, and Crazy Good People!  Stop by and give me the SECRET PHRASE, to win a prize!

The SECRET PHRASE for today is:

MARINE SCIENCE CAMP BOAT DAY

Of course, there are only a few days left to get tickets for the Boat Day!  We’ll talk more about THAT, tomorrow!

~Greg

One thought on “So Local Pasco, July 5th, 2016. “Toxic Algae Sludge Crisis…Not a Band Name” Edition”

Feel free to leave a comment! Be nice, though, or the banhammer shall fall.