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Environmental Roundup August 12, 2021

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Courtesy FWC Flickr
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A fish kill.

We are all connected by the environment we share. The Earth is our home. This is the space where we share the environmental stories that caught our attention this week in Florida and beyond.

FLORIDA:

Florida farmworkers are at high risk of heat-related death, especially as temperatures climb due to climate change. Dehydration, lack of water, and a lack of labor protections are contributing factors. Check out our report.

The traditionally African American community of River Park in Naples, FL has some concerns about the impact climate change will have on their community. Read our report here.

WUSF reports on the amazing mountain biking and birding at potentially, mildly toxic former phosphate mine sites in the Tampa Bay area.

Orlando Utilities Commission is purchasing a natural gas plant, as part of a larger plan to transition to “clean” energy and close its oldest coal-fired plant.

The city of Tampa has committed to 100% “clean” renewable energy by 2035.

The city of Sarasota has hired a contractor to begin the red tide-related clean-up of dead marine life along shorelines within city limits. The Herald Tribune reports, workers removed 1,500 pounds of dead fish by hand on the first day of the clean-up effort, Monday, Aug. 9. Sarasota County began the dead fish clean up effort last week. Workers on johnboats are also clearing dead marine life from waters within 200 feet of the shore. The city of Sarasota is also providing resources to assist clean-up efforts on private property. The clean-up could help improve water quality in the region. Currently several beaches in Sarasota County are under 'no swim' advisories due to higher than acceptable levels of enterococcus bacteria in the water. The high bacteria levels are believed to stem from the algae and dead fish.

Red tide continues to plague Southwest Florida. For the latest conditions, check our website for red tide updates.

BEYOND:

The island of Sicily has hit an all-time heat record--possibly the record for all of Europe, when it hit 48.8 Celsius, or 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Big Oil spent $10 million on Facebook ads last year to influence how the public feels about fossil fuels. Grist reports: Individual [oil & gas] companies promoted the affordability and reliability of their products (“Ann chose natural gas, and now she can invest the savings back into her business”). The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s biggest lobbying group, talked more about oil and gas being part of the “solution” to climate change. Finally, pro-fossil fuel advocacy groups argued that the industry was helping communities and the economy (“fracking supports thousands of jobs”) and emphasized philanthropic efforts.

E&E News reports food packaging containers contain toxic PFAs that are likely leaching into food.

Learn about all this and more, including regular updates on blue-green algae and red tide, on our website, WGCU.org.

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Courtesy Naples Botanical Garden
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Untangled by Linda Fay Braun, part of Naples Botanical Garden's Artists in Bloom

Do & Learn

  • Naples Botanical Garden invites essential workers and their families to visit the Garden on a complimentary basis through Sept. 30. Be sure to check out their exhibition, Artists in Bloom
  • A new exhibit at the Collier Museum, Swamp Angels: A History of Mosquitoes and Mosquito Control, might be a must-see. Running now through Aug. 28 at 3331 Tamiami Trail E., Naples, in the county government complex.
  • Watch Troubled Waters, a short documentary from the Calusa Waterkeeper.

Want to influence your local environment? There’s probably a public meeting for that.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites partners, stakeholders, and the public to an Aug. 19 educational webinar and listening session for the Integrated Delivery Schedule for Everglades Restoration: https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/2719621/usace-invites-partners-stakeholders-and-the-public-to-august-19-educational-web/

The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are seeking public feedback on a draft Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) for Everglades National Park. The two agencies will host a virtual public meeting on the issue Aug. 19, 6:30- 8 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed at https://youtu.be/YED_w6Bkztg. The public can also observe the virtual meeting via the livestream from the FAA’s social media platforms on the day of the event. Public feedback can be provided through the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website from July 29 through Aug. 28. The NPS and FAA will consider comments to help inform the final ATMP for Everglades National Park. The project website is available at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/EvergladesATMP

Check out Collier County’s full public calendar here.

Charlotte County still has several committee vacancies to fill and many have something to do with the environment. Learn more at: https://www.charlottecountyfl.gov/news/charlotte-county-committee-vacancies.stml

Got an environment story or tip to share? Email Valerie Vande Panne at Vvandepanne@wgcu.org.