Red Tide and Blue-Green Algae On Our Florida Coasts – Ten Things You Can Do, Rose Lipke
If you have read my last three articles you probably feel a lot like I do. Overwhelmed. Deeply saddened. Outraged. I mean….really really outraged. Don’t let that anger give way to despair in the face of such a complex and seemingly insurmountable problem. Channel that anger into action. Here are 10 things you can do to help fix our water quality woes.
VOTE! It is an election year folks! Do your research on candidates at every level and make sure you are voting for ones that have Florida’s water quality, the environment and Everglades restoration as their top priorities! My general rule of thumb is to just vote every incumbent out, no matter the party affiliation, but that is just what works for me.
GET INVOLVED! There are plenty of non-profit advocacy groups that are active in the fight for clean water. Some are statewide, others are local. Some are fairly new and some have been around a long time. Some are political, some are not. Find one that fits you and run with it. I am including a list of several at the end of this article to give you a starting point. Read their mission statements, find out what they are doing and how you can help.
KEEP YOUR SIDE OF THE STREET CLEAN! Are you adding to urban runoff by using nitrogen based fertilizers on your own lawn? Find alternatives, or better yet look into Florida friendly landscaping options for your home. Here is a great resource link to get you started: click here
EDUCATE YOURSELF! There are a ton of articles, scientific data and information regarding the Everglades and the Everglades restoration projects that are ongoing. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the more help you can be at every level. If you are passionate about our state’s future this is a great place to start. Here are some links you may find useful: evergladesrestoration.gov , National Park Service ,and South Florida Water Management District
Once you have armed yourself with the current state of progress (or lack thereof) on Everglades restoration, DROP A LINE TO YOUR STATE OFFICIALS! about it. Keep their feet to the fire! Here is the link to everyone’s contact info: click here
DO THE SAME TO YOUR FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES! click here
CONTACT YOUR COUNTY OFFICIALS! and demand they fix the water and sewer infrastructure in your county. This is a statewide issue and must be dealt with on a county by county basis. Manatee and Sarasota County representatives can be found here: Manatee County Sarasota County
VOLUNTEER! If wildlife is your passion, consider volunteering for one of many local Wildlife rescues in our state. If you don’t have time to give, donate money. Here are some that do great work in the Manatee and Sarasota county areas all in one fabulous link: lostfoundpets941
KEEP THE DIALOGUE GOING! Even when the red tide dissipates and the discharges stop, we must all keep this in the forefront of the public’s consciousness. I know in the short term it may hurt business but it is a small price to pay. If we don’t, nothing will get done, and it will get worse causing even more environmental and therefore economic damage.
TAKE STEPS TO REDUCE YOUR OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT!. Fix that leaky septic tank. Xeriscape your yard. Avoid single use plastics. Participate or even organise beach cleanups. Adhere to water usage restrictions. There are all simple things we can do everyday that have a a huge impact.
Pick one or pick them all, be as active as you like or simply donate to the people who are. Everyone is different but together with steps big and small, a little passion and perseverance, we can all make the difference.
Below are links to just a few organizations who are at the forefront of the fight for clean water in Florida and the Restoration of the Everglades.
Photos courtesy of depositphotos.