The Florida Influencers Series: This election year, the Miami Herald, the Bradenton Herald and el Nuevo Herald are driving a conversation on the important issues facing our state. We’ve assembled a panel of 50 influential Floridians to offer their views.
Tallahassee has failed to adequately address the increasing number of environmental problems facing Florida, and the next class of elected officials must act far more aggressively to solve them. That was the view expressed by an overwhelming majority of the Florida Influencers, a group of 50 leading voices from around the state.
In the latest survey, 68 percent of Influencers said they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with how well state lawmakers have handled climate and environmental issues, while just 8 percent said they were satisfied.
Here are more of their responses, which were published Sunday:
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Our environment is exactly like our health. If our health deteriorates, so does everything else. Florida is the tourism capital of the world because of our environment. Millions flock to the Sunshine State year-round for the outdoors, beaches, and state and national parks. The state leadership should be very concerned about the state of our environment. The current algae blooms and terrible red tide are byproducts of pollutants, fed by nutrient discharge. The red tide and algae blooms have already affected tourism this summer. We must protect our environment. We must also address and mitigate sea-level rise.
Miami Dade College
Florida should stop development beyond the urban boundaries, fund a land bank to protect our aquifers and stop agricultural emissions/discharge in environmentally sensitive areas — particularly those close to the Everglades and aquifers.
Chairman & CEO,
Florida’s environmental challenges are exacerbated by the existential threat facing our cities, particularly those concentrated in the southern most region. Chief among the legislative priorities for our leadership in Tallahassee should be to ensure the policy and funding infrastructure is proactive, informed by data and supports the use of innovative technologies and solutions that are adaptive to our changing climate. Moreover, policymakers must not ignore the reality that the adverse impact the shifting environmental conditions has disproportionate impact on low-to-moderate income communities. Climate gentrification is a reality for which existing safety nets or policy do not account.
Venture Cafe Miami
It’s risky to postpone buying environmentally valuable land that enhances quality of life for residents and provides the unique experience visitors can find nowhere else in the world. Once land is developed, you can’t un-develop or take it back. Legislators need to fully fund the state’s land preservation program now for its intended use. Florida must seize the opportunity to return to its status as a national leader in land preservation. We need to ensure our coveted natural environment and landscape is the legacy we leave for our families and visitors to enjoy for generations to come.
president & CEO,
and Visitors Bureau
Florida should secure by acquisition all major springs in the state. We can’t change our porous underground Swiss cheese-like foundation, but we should secure our fresh water sources.