Destruction of Florida’s Ecosystem: Who Cares as Long as We Have Perfect Green Lawns!

It really seems that Floridians are becoming increasingly reliant on pesticides like Round-up, and other chemicals used to maintain green-grass landscaping here in Florida, even in city and state parks. Even my bank, busy promoting a “save-the-ocean” gimmick to get new clients sees nothing wrong with the fact that their landscaping (and sidewalks) is maintained by those eco-system chemicals/pesticides (I voiced more than one complaint).

Yes, I am always on my soapbox about this (not that anyone listens to just one voice, unless you have scads of $$$, of course), but here in Florida we have a vote coming up on November 4th: the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative, Amendment 1, which is part of the inspiration for this blog. I doubt that it will ban the use of Round-Up, etc. but I’m sadly cynical enough after having grown up here to hold out much hope that it will make any difference, no matter what it proposes. But, yes, I voted, in favour of it.

So, my science links garnered from around the Internet world have to do with Florida’s ecosystem, since the local politicians seem to have put the ecosystem/environment on the back burner in favour of catering to developers.

Green vs Brown (Cuban) Anoles–I remember when the green anoles populated our back yard, now we just have the brown lizards, and only rarely will I see one in the (Round-Up flooded) state parks/wilderness spots. Pretty cool!

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/invaders-drove-lizards-evolve-stickier-feet-just-10-years

The impact of fertilizer run-off. We have almost year-round red tide, bacteria-laden water that made people sick when swimming, and a dead zone in the Gulf. I don’t even go swimming anymore. Who knows if this was even related, but one overcast evening I went out for a walk on Siesta Beach, and there was all these dark patches of algae on the beach. I realized that one patch of algae looked really weird, so I went over to look at it, ironically just as the moon came out of from the clouds–it was a dead seagull. As the moon came out more, it illuminated the beach. I realized it was not just one bird, but hundreds, all over the beach. The algae was not algae, it was dead seagulls, terns, etc. that I had been walking through. I went home and called the news hotline(s) to make a report, but it did not receive one bit of coverage–not on the TV or in the print/online news.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20121124/NEWS/121129635?tc=ar

Research paper on the impact turf lawns have on the local ecosystem, plus a more general research paper on the impact of Round-up type pesticides/chemicals:

http://www.wec.ufl.edu/extension/gc/harmony/landscaping/nativeandexotic.htm

https://www.lehigh.edu/~dpm2/Perez,%20et%20al%202007%20Ecological%20Applications%2017(8)%202310-2322.pdf

On the Monarch Butterfly:

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/tracking_the_causes_of_sharp__decline_of_the_monarch_butterfly/2634/

That’s just the beginning…plenty more out there, but please, Floridians, explore native plants and other non-toxic, drought-friendly landscaping over those toxic lawns (I “love” when I see “native” landscaping, having been planted for environmental purposes, routinely doused with Round-up, etc. to kill the weeds :-p).

It is just unbelievable how people think it’s safe, and to highlight just how scary it was, I watched the staffers at the local fairgrounds douse the grass with Round-up in front of an event, where, less than an hour later, you had little kids rolling around, eating the Round-Up laden grass, sticking their fingers in their mouths…How is it that people aren’t disturbed by that I will never understand.

Though I try to get involved and advocate for change, I just feel so powerless, and bitter, here in Florida…

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Author: The Chaos Realm

Copy Editor/Proofreader, Historian, Freelance Writer, Virtual Assistant.

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