Wednesday, May 17, 2017

DeFunding the banks

This is the perfect time to turn up the pressure on the banks, in particular, for their role in financing the climate crisis. Summer is also the season when most big companies hold their shareholder meetings. And the global divestment movement is putting the screws to companies large and small in demanding that they align their investments with the future of life on earth.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We've been had by the mass media

The function of the mass media is not to inform the American public of important things that are happening in their country, it is to turn attention away from the important things that are happening in their country and to keep them sleepy and compliant.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Our Connection to Nature

This is sad: Americans encounter a number of society-wide forces disconnecting them from nature. Americans face competing priorities for their time, attention and money. They live in places that often have more concrete than green space. It is increasingly normal to spend little time outside. More than half of adults report spending five hours or less in nature each week, and most are satisfied with this minimal amount of time. Many parents and older adults lament that children today are growing up with limited opportunities to experience nature. Parents say their 8 -to 12-year-old children spend three times as many hours with computers and TVs each week as they do playing outside.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Everglades Restoration

It is going to take multiple tools and approaches to save our Everglades. Protecting the land north of the lake from intense development is part of the solution. Wetlands throughout cattle ranches in the northern Everglades supply valuable habitat while acting as natural water storage systems that help clean and supply the drinking water to millions of people in south Florida.

Friday, April 28, 2017

1997 Environmental Disaster

In 1997, amid heavy rains, a dam broke atop one of two gypsum stacks at the Mulberry Phosphates plant on State Road 60, unleashing a 56-million gallon spill of the acidic wastewater into the Alafia River. The pollution killed everything in its path for 42 miles, eventually rolling into Hillsborough Bay. The death toll included more than 1 million baitfish and shellfish and 72,900 gamefish near the river’s mouth, 377 acres of damaged trees and other vegetation along the riverbank, and an unknown number of alligators. When state officials hit the company with a multimillion-dollar fine for the damage done, it declared bankruptcy and shut down. (Its insurance company wound up footing the bill.) Ten years later, local and state officials were still working on restoration projects. Meanwhile the old gyp stack was taken over by a larger company—Mosaic—with plans to close it permanently.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ruffling some feathers

anyone with a vested interest in the future success of the Democratic party should be doing everything they can to try and get everyone to forget about their unelectable joke of a candidate as quickly as possible so that they can maybe start winning some elections someday.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

History and Education

Founding father and President Thomas Jefferson once remarked, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” His words were crystal clear: in order for a free society to function, its citizens must be informed about current events, the functions of their government and the history of their nation. Jefferson’s advice, however, is increasingly ignored by his fellow Americans more than 200 years later. It seems that fewer and fewer Americans care to know about how history and governmental affairs affect them personally. The 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report found that only 18 percent of 8th graders were at least proficient in U.S. History and only 23 percent in Civics.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Photography Degree

When you enter the world of professional photography as a photographer, it is your work and how you present that work — not a certificate or grade — that speaks for you.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

1000 Friends of Florida's Goals

For 2017, 1000 Friends has an ambitious list of proactive legislative priorities including: Saving special places by dedicating at least 25% of the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (formerly Amendment 1) each year to acquiring conservation and recreation lands through the Florida Forever and Florida Communities Trust programs. Building better communities by improving the local governments dispute resolution and providing a more equitable 'preponderance of the evidence' standard of review to impacted local governments in administrative court when dispute resolution is unsuccessful. Protecting Florida's waters by improving last year's water legislation through common sense policies that increase water conservation and reduce pollutants entering Florida's waters.

Florida Legislative action or inaction....

The Florida House and Senate announced their individual 2017-2018 environmental budget recommendations this week. Both chambers propose cutting environmental spending, with the Florida House proposing a shocking 25% reduction in the Department of Environmental Protection budget from last year. Equally disappointing, the Florida House defunded the state's major land protection programs Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. The Florida Senate's proposed budget, offered by Sen. Rob Bradley, is equally disappointing. It recommends only $10 million for Florida Forever and no funding for Rural and Family Lands.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ghost Town

Hidden in the woods of the Croom Wildlife Management Area you'll find the forgotten ghost town of Oriole, that is if you know where to find it. The town of Oriole began when families began settling in the area back in the 1800's. These early settlers built farms and started orange groves and traded amongst themselves. In order to get to the area, many people would have take a ferry across the Withlacoochee River to get to this remote location. Eventually the first post office of Oriole was established in 1884 and a railroad line reached the town bringing in further growth. Around this time phosphate mining was a booming industry and the town got their mining permit in 1890 and operated in the industry until around 1915. The town's cemetery can still be seen today if you know where to look. It is known as both the Oriole Cemetery as well as the Giddens Homestead Cemetery. The Giddens family was one of the first families to settle in the area. The cemetery is believed to be the third oldest in Hernando County. Oriole was a small town with only about 100 people at its biggest. Just like many other small Florida towns the great freezes of 1894 and 1895 wiped out the majority of the crops that folks depended on for sustenance. An outbreak of influenza claimed many lives of settlers in the area, most of which were very young judging from the dates on many of the tombstones. Eventually the town of Oriole was abandoned but the land was used by ranchers who built homesteads during the 1900's to the mid 1920's while raising cattle and various crops. Remains from these homesteads can also be found in these woods, there's even a windmill that is still standing serving as a reminder of this bygone era.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

City Planning

To live in a world without pollution and waste, yet keep parks, playgrounds, art and music centers, schools, and health care available to everyone without a price tag, profound changes are required in the way we plan our cities and conduct human affairs. To support this new aim and direction, our city designs, industrial plants, waterways, energy systems, production and distribution centers, and transportation systems must be re-designed and operated as a coherent, integrated, global energy system enabling them to be safe, clean, and energy efficient. In this way we can use our technology to overcome resource shortages, provide universal abundance and protect the environment.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

What happened to Ochopee?

What Happened to Ochopee? by Jeff Whichello Like a tall palm tree growing from a single seed, the community of Ochopee emerged from one man’s solitary dream. In 1928, twentyeight-year-old James Gaunt saw undiscovered potential in the swamp that lay on either side of the new road that connected Tampa to Miami. His love of farming and community fueled his actions to build his own world. One of the top producers of tomatoes in the country, Ochopee earned its place on the Florida map but when the market dropped, other adventurers joined. Only people with a certain creativity, workethic, and talent succeeded in this mucky land. An airboat and a swamp buggy venture, animal exhibits, real estate businesses, a water company, a mining operation, restaurants, a motel, bars, a general store, a campground, movie makers, and a skunk-ape followed Gaunt to the grassy field he first declared his home. A small twentieth century pioneer town prospered on the open plain where children were born and families lived in peace. Then, the takers came. These big-picture people were unconcerned about the details of their actions while staring at a map of Florida from their government offices. They were unable to imagine or realize the activities of this unique community living free in the wild. When environmentalists and developers collided on the Ochopee battle ground, it was the common person, the one who scrambled every day to feed their family who suffered in this war. The only one with a stake in it, they had something to lose.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Only Cypress Ghosts Remain

Only Cypress Ghosts Remain The majesty of the giant Tidewater cypress is something to behold – or wish you could – as most of the thousands that once stood near Copeland, Florida have long since fallen to the lumberjack’s saws. The seemingly ageless trees stood for hundreds of years – but one day in 1943, the almost sacred grounds of the cypress were invaded by man in search of cypress for lumber. He carved out a settlement at the edge of the swamplands, built houses for workmen, machine shops, a railroad roundhouse, streetlights, a water system and sewers – a support community for the rape of the cypress. Copeland, north of Everglades City and the Tamiani Trail and south of Alligator Alley just off State Road 29 was a Lee Tidewater cypress town. And at the edge of the ancient Everglades, they came to take the cypress. In 15 years of operation(it closed in 1958), millions of board feet of cypress were marked, cut, hauled out of the swamp by steam engines to a siding of the then Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The cypress was shipped to the company’s Perry mills for sawing into lumber. The whine of the power saw, black smoke of the engines and hustle and bustle of the logging community faded. The large stands stood no more. Birds find the once-dense cypress forest no longer available for nesting. Wildlife misses the trees for shelter and the cleared land now has less water retention. It takes time to grow a tree and hundreds of years for a cypress. There is not too much hope for the return of the giants. Some say the Everglades is drying up and the once misty home of the cypress may become a desert. - George Lane Jr. – St. Petersburg Times, May 21, 1970

Saturday, January 7, 2017

More to it

It is not enough to criticize, point out the shortcomings of society, or advocate that people of high moral character be elected into office; this would do little to advance civilization. What is needed is the intelligent management of the world’s resources, and a comprehensive and workable arrangement of environmental and social affairs that are in strict accord with existing resources and the carrying capacity of our planet.