Sunday, October 13, 2019

Speaking up for our only planet

Show & tell! I bought this nandina to make
the point that Florida is spending millions
to remove invasive plants, but many of them
 are still for sale, which makes the problem
even worse. I asked them to make it illegal
to sell known invasives. 
The 2019 Clay County Delegation meeting was October 10 at 2:30pm


Each fall in Florida, there are state delegation meetings in every county where people can address their Florida legislature representatives. I'd called my senator's office more than a month earlier to put myself on the agenda. You have only three minutes to make your point, so I'd planned out my topics and had put together a handout to give to the legislators with my points and links for more information. (See my handout below.) This is necessary, because people might be distracted with side conversations that may come up during the hearing. I print my handouts on green paper.


The hearing is filled with groups, most of which are asking for full funding for projects or initiatives. The official groups including the local municipalities, Clerk of Court, Supervisor of Elections, School board and more official county organizations and more are first in line and they are not limited to three minutes. Then there are organizations of various types. I was pleased to see that 1000 Friends of Florida, The St. Johns Riverkeeper, The North Florida Land Trust, and the Florida Conservation Voters were there also pushing for full funding of Florida Forever and other green issues. In the past, I've been a lonely voice for Florida's environment.

After the organizations then there are individuals. I was the second individual on the list. My main point was that removal of invasive plants is costing us millions of dollars, but they are still for sale. To make the point more graphic, I'd purchased a Nandina shrub from the local Home Depot the day before. I brought it with me to the hearing and placed it up on the podium and ended that topic with the promise that I would take it home and kill it. That got a laugh.

Speaking to your county's delegation
 meeting is an effective method to
implement change. 
I rushed through the second and third topics, because they'd already been covered to some extent by the environmental groups, but when I talked about how much water Nestle is pumping from our springs and needs to be stopped, there were cheers and applause from the audience. The 4th topic was addressing climate change. I held up a copy of our "Climate-Wise Landscaping" book and related that what we had not done in the book was to debate climate change because debate is not going to address the clear and present problems facing Florida today. I spoke about the issue quickly, but read my final paragraph to them.
"The worst thing that could happen if we address climate problems now is that we will have pooled our resources and worked together to make a better world for future generations. Because, in the end, if our grandkids can't breathe the air or drink the water, then all the money in the world is worth nothing."


So is all this effort worthwhile? Can we, as individuals, make an actual difference?


The answer is, "Sometimes, things ARE changed." One specific example is that two years ago, one of my green topics was that people should be able to grow vegetables in their front yards and I'd included a reference to a case in Miami Lakes. Senator Rob Bradley wrote and sponsored a bill. And now there is a new Florida law that says that municipalities cannot ban front yard vegetable gardens. It doesn't apply to HOAs, but still it's a big step in building more resiliency in neighborhoods,

So please speak up in defence of our only planet. Our grandchildren deserve support from us to make their lives better, not worse.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt


~ ~ ~
Clay County delegation meeting 2019 from Ginny Stibolt gstibolt@gmail.com 904- xxx xxxx

1) The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council has determined plants that have overrun or Florida natives in natural areas. Million of both taxpayer and private dollars are spent to remove them from wild areas, but they are still for sale. I think their sale should be illegal. www.FLEPPC.org
Information on Florida's invasive plants from IFAS with further references: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/caip/2019/09/29/potential-impacts-of-invasive-plants/
And some, like Nandina harms wildlife. Its berries kill birds:  https://ar.audubon.org/news/nandina-berries-kill-birds
2) With 900 people moving to Florida every day, our water supply is critical, but Nestle has been pumping 1.1 million gallons of water a day from Ginnie Springs on an expired contract. This must be stopped for the health of our springs and for the future of our municipal water supplies.
https://wtfflorida.com/news/editorial/protect-ginnie-springs-from-nestle/
3) 2014's Amendment 1 and was approved by 75 percent of voters, but too little of these monies actually go to purchase land as directed. Buying land has ancillary benefits. Forests reduce droughts, cool and clean the air, provide habitat, and increase carbon sequestration.
4) It's time to address climate change in every way possible. More solar power including solar on people's roofs. Counties and municipalities should be encouraged to reduce lawn acreage and plant more native trees and wildflowers.


The worst thing that could happen if we address climate problems now is that we will have pooled our resources and worked together to make a better world for future generations. Because, in the end, if our grandkids can't breathe the air or drink the water, then all the money in the world is worth nothing.

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful! My only correction is that the vegetable gardening ordinance change originated in my village of Miami Shores.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, it was the Miami Shores example that I used in my pitch to the Clay County delegation and it was my senator, Rob Bradley, who first heard about this issue from me. And he was the one who wrote and sponsored the bill.

    ReplyDelete