Red Tide. The cost of ignoring our environment.

Thinking about what to write for my first post, the current red tide problem immediately comes to mind. What is Florida without beaches? It isn’t Florida at all.

This is where we find ourselves now with fish dying all over the western coast and tourists staying away from our ocean shores.

The environment first became a part of the public debate when current Florida Governor Rick Scott passed a law that controls who can access beaches. It emboldened private property owners to claim ownership of our beach sand.

He then repealed enforcement of the law after a massive backlash from Florida residents and tourists as viral videos showed police removing tourists from beaches where they once vacationed.

Unfortunately, this did nothing to stop the controversy that beaches are no longer open to the public.

To make matters worse the beach is now flooded with red tide that is killing fish and making the air difficult to breathe. Businesses are also losing millions of dollars in the hospitality and food business.

Once again Rick Scott is at the center of this after cutting $700 million during his tenure from the state’s water management districts and cutting regulations that protected the waterways from pollutants and contaminants. There are consequences to ignoring our environment.

According to UF:

This year, after heavy spring rains and because of discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee, river runoff in southwest Florida brought a large amount of nutrients into near-shore waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which fueled the large red tide.

Just look at this devastation:

Rick Scott may not believe in climate change, but science is clear here that we have a serious environmental problem in Florida and that there needs to be accountability and action taken to save Florida from this epidemic.

Our dolphins, manatees, and fish are dying and the ecosystem and community that depends on it is also being impacted by this negligence.

Cleaning it up is a first step, but more needs to be done and Rick Scott’s leadership has been to react and not to prevent. Take some responsibility instead of blaming others. People are angry and rightfully so.

Change needs to happen. Now.

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