We can “support those measures that aid both our neighbors and the environment” but Munoz himself admits that these measures will fail when he writes: “Laws like the Clean Waterways Act of 2020 are well intentioned but become distorted by special interests and human greed.”
What we have in Florida are well-intentioned laws that are meaningless and useless because our state is run by lobbyists for industry. Until this changes we can support all the measures we want but nothing will change, and to think otherwise is naive. The other measures Munoz references will meet the same fate.
Munoz gives a good example of this by citing Rubio’s “study.” Politicians try to make themselves look good by pushing studies instead of remedies, knowing all the while that industry/polluters will continue unscathed.
We know how to stop toxic blooms but fear of the polluters/money stops Florida from fixing them.
Neither the pope nor Rubio is going to save Florida’s environment.
The Sun did not provide a link to this article.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
Florida at risk for more toxic blooms
Alejandro Andres Munoz Guest columnist, Sunday April 11, 2021
Springtime in the United States typically evokes images of new life and vibrant blooms … but not for Florida. Springtime marks the start of a far deadlier and toxic bloom, that of bluegreen algae.
The warming waters and growing phosphorus imbalance create just the right environment for massive-scale algal blooms. These can destroy both local ecosystems and economies. That is why, unless action is promptly taken, Florida risks declaring another state of emergency like that of 2018.
Algal blooms have many contributing factors but two primary ingredients in algal growth are phosphorous and warm weather. Phosphorous, a critical element in plant growth, enters the watershed as runoff from domestic and agricultural fertilizers. Agricultural lands are naturally the largest proportion of this contribution, making up 78% of the total phosphorous entering the watershed….
In pursuing a solution for this crisis, I believe that the intention behind legislation needs to be evaluated. Our legislation should seek to serve ecological interests and mankind alike.
To seek a remedy for an issue with only humanity in mind promulgates what Pope Francis labels as “modern anthropocentrism.” In his ecological encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis defines anthropocentrism as “the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
While legislators might combat ecological issues because of their impact on their constituents, the inherent good of creation must not be overlooked.
Instead, politics should serve an integral ecology. Pope Francis reminds us that “strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.” By this same notion, we as voters and constituents should support legislation that serves integration and reject those that promote anthropocentrism. Laws like the Clean Waterways Act of 2020 are well intentioned but become distorted by special interests and human greed. This law allowed phosphorous monitoring to be voluntary, as a result of agricultural lobbying, which prolonged this potent problem.
The pervasiveness of toxic algae in Florida prompted U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio to introduce the South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act of 2021. This act seeks to establish a task force to conduct an integrated assessment, drawing on federal, academic and indigenous knowledge to combat harmful algal blooms. This bill draws on preceding legislation which seeks to protect environmental interests in addition to human health and well-being.
With all governmental intervention, a significant portion of the change rests on us. We, as voters, should use our influence to support those measures that aid both our neighbors and the environment. Only then can we achieve the “sense of responsible stewardship” that Pope Francis argues is the remedy to modern anthropocentrism.
Alejandro Andres Munoz is a student in the University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation.
The warming waters and growing phosphorus imbalance create just the right environment for massive-scale algal blooms.