“We need people in office who are willing to protect our waters.”
At the moment we have a very few. Litgation and the power of the vote are the only solutions. And for the vote we need to educate. Please read carefully this article, as it is all about the up-coming primaries. Study the issues and read carefully about the candidates. Unfortunately there is plenty of disinformation around, such as that dispersed by the Amendent 1 advocates. Vote “yes” on Amendment4 and “no” on Amendment 1 in November.
Read the article by Susan Nugent in the Gainesville Sun here:
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
By Susan Nugent
Special to The Sun August 14, 2016
Absentee ballots have already been mailed, voters have changed parties in order to have a voice, early voting starts on Aug. 19 and our primary election is on Aug. 30.
This year’s primary is especially important in Alachua County because county commissioners running for office and appearing on the primary ballot are all Democrats. For that race, it is in the primary, and more specifically in the Democratic primary, that the voting most matters. There and then we will determine the future of our County Commission.
As our primary approaches, we need to prepare to make choices that will affect our planet’s health. Maybe some voters won’t directly benefit by the decisions made on the ballot, but the Millennials will. Maybe that benefit won’t be realized today, but our choices will change the future. The act of voting in the primary, especially this year, will lead to a cleaner energy future for Florida or will doom the state to more environmental catastrophes.
The major decision we must make is to move to sustainable energy, away from dirty fossil fuels. The external expenses of fossil fuel, including wildfires, extreme weather events, infrastructure loss, health costs and water shortage, are too great to remain tethered to carbon.
As scientists consistently connect the increased carbon dioxide in our atmosphere with rising temperatures, we can no longer remain reliant on fossil fuels. Instead, it’s our time to recognize that Florida is third in the nation in its capacity for roof-top solar installations — yet we are only 14th in our generation of solar energy. That must change.
At our primary on Aug. 30, we will have the opportunity to vote for Amendment 4, a step toward solar as an affordable option for all. Voting “yes” for Amendment 4 means businesses will not pay higher property taxes when they add solar panels to their buildings. Instead, this investment is seen as a commitment to clean energy, one for which the business owner should be supported, not penalized with heavier taxes.
Voting for Amendment 4 indicates our support for those making the investment in solar energy. Eventually, we can all make this change to renewable clean energy.
While making a direct decision to support clean energy with this one tiny step is relatively simple, it is not as easy to discern which of sometimes many candidates to support. Here, too, most of us can agree on some basic principles.
First, we do not want beaches with “guacamole-thick” algae in Florida. Second, we do not want to worry about our springs becoming similarly destroyed. So what might other considerations be as we decide our vote for local and state candidates?
We need people in office who are willing to protect our waters. As we lose our beaches, we also lose our tourists. In 2014, tourism added $82 billion to Florida’s economy. These monies will disappear if we do not protect what brings people to Florida.
Since we all have read about the horrors of degraded water caused by Lake Okeechobee’s overflow releases, we need to vote to stop such continued lack of support of our precious resources. That also means we need to know the causes of Lake Okeechobee’s waters. We need to know which of our politicians listened to and supported the 75 percent of us who voted last year for environmental action.
In this area, we need to worry about our springs. According to Floridasprings.org, “The major issues impacting the health of the springs include population growth, urban sprawl, growing demand for groundwater and introduction of fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants to the springsheds.”
Our community has a plan for growth. Are we willing to follow it? Will we elect officials who consider the quality and quantity of clean groundwater? While promises of immediate solutions may be seductive, long-term goals require both analysis and thought beyond a quick fix that can also quickly lead to more guacamole-like conditions in places we have cherished.
So let’s all take action for climate justice. Vote for kindness in this world. Vote thinking of the people suffering from respiratory diseases. Vote considering the people displaced by extreme weather events. Vote remembering the people whose insurance rates go sky high because of extreme weather events.
Vote for our springs and beaches. Vote for sustainable energy. Vote “yes” on Amendment 4.
— Susan Nugent is a Climate Reality Project leader from Gainesville.