Last week, residents and activists from the Glades communities spoke with us about the environmental and health injustices of sugarcane burning. Shocking imagery and compassionate personal testimony helped to paint a picture of the very real threat that looms over communities south of Lake Okeechobee 6-8 months of the year. The take-away was clear: impacted communities deserve immediate and lasting protections. At Friends of the Everglades, we've made a commitment to help shine a light on this flagrant example of environmental inequality and we'd like to ask for your help. Last week, we sent a letter to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to express our support for the expansion of real protections for communities most impacted by the pre-harvest practice of sugarcane burning, until such [...]
ACTION ALERT: Send a letter to Gov. DeSantis and lawmakers urging them to protect the endangered Florida panther by stopping new toll roads.
Did you hear? Young friends of the Everglades are leading the fight to protect Florida's state animal, the Florida panther. This endangered species faces a significant threat from a set of new toll roads, known as M-CORES, proposed to cut through territory that is vital to the panther's survival and recovery efforts. In a new initiative launched last week, kids across the state sent letters to Gov. DeSantis and members of the Florida legislature urging them to protect the endangered Florida panther by stopping construction of the new toll roads. Their commitment set a worthy example for Floridians of all ages that care about the preservation of state wildlife. To make a real difference, we need all of you to weigh in. Without your voices, we [...]
A rare and endangered species, the Florida Panther evokes a sense of mystery and beauty that is not unlike its natural Everglades environment. Widely recognized as the iconic state animal of Florida, the number of panthers left in the wild are thought to have dwindled to only a couple hundred thanks to increasing environmental threats. Young Friends of the Everglades virtual learning components are aimed at nurturing the youngest environmentalists among us by linking education to advocacy. The latest addition of the the Florida panther to our online learning space aims to familiarize users with information about this truly extraordinary species and inspire each and every Young Friend to be an active part of the panther recovery efforts. Young Friends [...]
We are grateful to all of you for joining us for our latest Clean Water Conversation: Stop the Burn. Today we covered the environmental and health injustices of sugarcane burning. As our guest Patrick so poignantly emphasized, the history of Everglades restoration is scattered with instances where the reckless pursuit of short term profit was allowed to outweigh that of longterm human health and dignity. This outdated pre-harvest practice is another shocking example of a way that this shortsighted thinking still prevails to this day. Our guests today reminded us of the importance of collectively raising our voices against injustices and lifting up each other's individual experiences, as real human stories are often the most effective tool for fostering change. We can't say enough about the [...]
Almost half a million acres of sugarcane are burned for harvest every year in the fields around the Glades. Thick smoke looms, and ash rains down on houses, cars, and schools in communities south of Florida's Lake Okeechobee most months of the year. Insufficient protections for surrounding communities imposes air pollution, health risks, and economic stress on vulnerable residents — threats that are underscored by the current pandemic. Friends of the Everglades submitted the following letter to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to express our support for the expansion of real protections for communities most impacted by the pre-harvest practice of sugarcane burning, until such a time that pre-harvest burning is banned entirely. Click here to view the letter in full.
The Florida Bonneted Bat, one of the rarest and most endangered species of bat in the world, is relying on the designation of critical habitat in Florida, partially located in Everglades National Park, for its best chance of recovery and survival. Known for its large ears that push forward over a wrinkled face, this beloved species is at odds with rising seas and ongoing development across South Florida. Found in only a small number of counties in or around Florida’s Everglades, the bat’s exact population is unknown but is thought to be small and ever-decreasing. In the attached comments, Friends of the Everglades joined the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation organizations in response to the U.S. Fish and [...]
Today, Friends of the Everglades stood with Congressman Brian Mast in front of the St. Lucie River in support of his newly-introduced legislation. The bill aims to prohibit toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon when microcystin exceeds the EPA recreational limit of 8 parts per billion. An advanced copy of the bill can be viewed here. With each passing year, we have accumulated more scientific evidence confirming the serious health threats posed by toxic algae blooms. Yet it’s still legally permissible to flood our communities with this toxic water. That's inexcusable. Congressman Mast’s legislation aims to stop that. These are not partisan issues. They are commonsense public-health protections. We support Congressman [...]
We need your help. The Army Corps of Engineers has formally recognized the serious public health threat posed by harmful algal blooms. As such, it is imperative that they move forward with a proposed deviation from the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS 2008) that would allow for common-sense adjustments to the current lake management plan to avoid sending toxic algae to communities. The Corps is gathering comments from the public to help them finalize the proposed changes to current lake management. Your input can help shape the way the federal government manages South Florida’s waterways. If you’ve seen the impacts of toxic blooms, discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee, or the collapse of Florida Bay and the health of [...]
Friends of the Everglades submitted the following comments to the Army Corps of Engineers to express our support for a proposed deviation from LORS 2008, allowing for common sense adjustments to the current Lake Okeechobee management plan in recognition of the serious public health threat posed by harmful algal blooms.
Thanks to all of you for joining us for another successful Clean Water Conversation. Today our guests, Dr. Walter Bradley and Dr. James Metcalf, covered the frightening topic of human health impacts related to toxic algae exposure. Many of you offered up your questions and concerns for discussion, highlighting very real fears that Floridians face due to toxic Lake Okeechobee discharges. The takeaway was direct and disturbing: these toxins present clear short and long-term risks to humans, to our pets, to animals that share these environments with us, and to crops that are irrigated with polluted water. We’re grateful to Doctors Bradley and Metcalf for their truly remarkable work, dedicated to understanding the dangers of HABs. They are [...]