Archive for environment

The good and the bad

These past couple of weeks, there was a lot happening in the news about the Florida environment.

Endangered Florida panthers and development pressures continue to clash in southwestern Florida. NASA is considering putting a new launch pad in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s not all bad news. Ecotourism is making a positive effect on the Florida economy. The state’s conservation land-buying program, Florida Forever, is still going on (for now). The Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway is official. A new Florida state forest is also being born.

I enjoy keeping up with what’s going on in Florida’s environment. Maintaining this blog, though, just doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s just a side aspect of the larger EcoFlorida Web site. Updating this blog takes me away from that.

When EcoFlorida first started providing links to news headlines about Florida’s environment, there were a small handful of sites providing that information in one place. EcoFlorida also provided actual news stories. Then I moved it to a blog format. Now, there are many, many Florida environment news sites, blogs and listservs that provide information.

Just like the news, which reports the good things that happen as well as the bad things that happen, hanging up this blog is mixed. But it’s the right thing to do, for now.

Enjoy exploring natural Florida!


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“The business of the environment”

I just found out the Wall Street Journal has an environment blog. As you might expect of the Journal, it’s all business-related.

What other environment-related blogs do you read?

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Removing people for speaking up just arouses suspicions

Environmentalist circles are buzzing about the removal of an EPA scientist from the Everglades restoration effort after he reportedly spoke against U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to flush dirty water from Lake Okeechobee into Biscayne National Park, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Times writer Craig Pittman uncovered the details and also pointed out in the article that other scientists working on Everglades restoration have been removed from the project for offering alternative viewpoints or pointing out concerns.

State officials say they didn’t remove the scientist from the restoration project, according to the article.

It’s too bad when any group or organization is closed to differing viewpoints, and especially for something as important as Everglades restoration. Firing scientists and removing them from projects just for pointing out problems doesn’t solve anything — it just makes the public suspicious.

I suspect we’ll hear more about this in the future.

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Blog Action Day for the environment

Today is Blog Action Day, when anyone with a blog can choose to participate in this day of writing posts specifically about the environment.

But when you have an environment-themed blog as I do, you write about the environment every day. So I guess every day is Blog Action Day around here.

This blog is an extension of the general EcoFlorida Web site, which I started in 1999. At the time, finding information on visiting Florida’s natural areas was practically impossible. When you did find something out, it was often old information that hadn’t been updated, or it was nothing more than a phone number to call. The government agencies that manage these areas didn’t seem to know yet how to use the Internet to provide recreation information. Florida’s natural areas are so rich and diverse. They were (are!) just waiting to be explored and appreciated. I wanted to help get the word out about these wonderful areas.

There are many more online resources for Florida’s natural areas today, and that’s great! I think visiting and really getting to know the true Florida is a perfect way to get interested in our environment. During an interview with private conservationist MC Davis, he told me a quote from philosopher Baba Dioum: “For in the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”

So, clearly, education is important — and going down a trail, or exploring Florida’s coral reefs, or spotting wildlife you’ve never seen before — is a fun way to start learning.

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