By Jan Larraine Cox
Some may be discouraged from celebrating our earth by recent negative reports on the environment- don’t be! As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, there are many avenues to take to reduce our carbon footprint here in the Gulf Coast and worldwide. There are several organizations that inspire the population to go green, here are four of them:
Last August, most of Florida’s Gulf Coast-from Apalachicola Bay on the Northwest Coast to Ten Thousand Islands in Southwest Florida-was named the latest of 130 worldwide “Hope Spots” by oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle’s organization, Mission Blue.
Parents and teachers are encouraged to challenge local students to learn more about our Hope Spot and think about different ways we can help keep it healthy. The most creative solution will win a $100 prize awarded to the student; deadline is April 30. To enter, contact Blue-Green Connections at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HANDS ACROSS THE SAND
This organization invites everyone around the globe to join in silent solidarity on May 16 in saying NO to fossil fuels and YES to clean energy to protect our lands and waters. Their mission is to move leaders to adopt policies encouraging the growth of clean and renewable energy through hosting hundreds of Hands Across the Sand Events in many countries. Hands Across the Sand encourages us to reject offshore drilling, tar sands extraction, hydraulic fracking and instead accelerate a shift to clean, sustainable, renewable energy, such as wind, solar and biomass, which will produce minimal pollution.
Last year, six countries participated. Florida lead our country with 30 different Hands Across the Sand events; 7,654 people joined hands on Rockaway Beach in NY! This year, anyone can again organize one of these 15-minute events by visiting the website to submit a 2020 event. Visit www.handsacrossthesand.org to learn more and submit your own Hands Across the Sand event.
TAMPA BAY ESTUARY PROGRAM
After decades of pollution and being impacted by fertilizers, Tampa Bay is returning to life and assuming its position as the environmental focal point of Southwest Florida. Tampa Bay is home to one of the most productive nature systems in the world. Located where salt and fresh water mix, it’s the perfect location for nurseries of young fish, shrimp, and crabs.
How we can help keep the impact of fertilizers low on this precious natural resource? By applying slow-release fertilizers in the spring and fall. By releasing the nutrients gradually, lawns and waterways are protected from nutrient overdosing. In the past, too much nitrogen and phosphorus flowing into waterways has caused algae bloom that lowers oxygen levels, turns water color rust or green, and kills marine life.
The Tampa Bay Estuary Program has posted www.BeFloridian.org online to inform homeowners how to establish Florida-friendly yards that require less fertilizer, water, and pesticides. Learn more about what you can do at www.tbep.org.