Like many Florida residents, I grew up somewhere else. But a common thread throughout my life has been my awareness of the cleanliness of the water we all rely on….

Water touches everything that we do, from the hydrofracking in Pennsylvania to the herbicides and pesticides that many Floridians use to maintain pristine expanses of grass. While water issues might seem confined to drinking, farming and energy production, the most popular irrigated crop in the United States is grass. What we spray on the manicured perfection of lawns and golf courses ends up in everything downstream, with consequences both personal and ecological.

People are being diagnosed with low-grade lymphoma from exposure to herbicides. We’ve seen those consequences, first-hand and painful. Floridians are seeing consequences, too, from the way that we use water. The red tide that choked our coasts, scaring away tourists and destroying wildlife two years ago was linked to uncontrolled runoff. Without dramatic action — both to clean up our water and to tackle climate change — scientists say it will return again and again, becoming worse with time and population growth.

Unfortunately, we have a government that is interested in growth at the cost of all else. The new definition of protected wetlands announced by the Trump administration in 2018 increased the acreage of Florida’s wetlands available to developers — despite experts saying that the change would create more problems downstream. And this administration has irresponsibly refused to take any action to address our climate change, which worsens red tides.

We ignore our water at our peril. The time has come to clean up our water and our climate, and move to a more sustainable economy powered by clean energy. Fix our water; fix our planet.

Jocelyn Hoch, a former organic gardener who chairs the Englewood Center 4 Sustainability, wrote this for the Center for American Progress.