Blog Post Novemeber 3-8, 2012
Just one remark about the election. After billions of dollars wasted on frivolous campaign rhetoric, finally someone mentioned Climate Change. It was not a presidential candidate, though. It was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as he looked out on the wasteland that is his coastline. He said-and this is an approximation, “Last year it was Irene. This year it’s Sandy. We are having 100 year storms every year. Wow something must be going on!” or words to that effect. Then he goes way out on a limb by saying, “Now whether or not this was a part of climate change or just a random series of events, only time will tell.” Which is, of course, hogwash. The worlds’ scientists (and this is their job, by the way, establishing what’s real) settled on climate change as a fact of life decades ago.
But the real surprise came next, when the Mayor of New York put the Climate Change case in its simplest form.
He said,“If you talk to farmers who lost all their crops, because there’ve been droughts, or places where you’ve had tornadoes or hurricanes, or the families of those who were lost here, they would say hey, there is something going on. What is clear is the ice cap has melted, and that’s very bad because then the heat of the sun gets absorbed in the water, which raises the water temperature, which hurts the reefs and the ecosystem of the reefs. It’s not the sort of thing you can ever say for sure, but the consequences of making a mistake in one direction are pretty severe, and I think what we have to do is learn from this.”
So there it is, in all its glory, the only discussion of climate change in the not so great Presidential race of 2012. One word describes the situation…..
On Radio Green Earth this week, we talk to Kurt Davies, head of USA Research for Greenpeace, about whether the Mayor has started changing the conversation about Climate Change.
Meanwhile our South Florida environment remains under attack. The Indian River Lagoon is losing its grass. Huge swaths of the Northern Lagoon grasses have died off in just the last year or so, confounding the scientists. This is a very serious situation because of the diverse nature of the lagoon.
The Indian River Lagoon is a 156 mile long estuary located on Florida’s East Coast, and its shoreline includes six Florida counties. In the lagoon there are 685 different species of fish, and more than 2000 animal species. Millions of human animals flock to Florida to play along its shores, and thousands have paid millions just to live on its banks.
Thank goodness for the Watchdogs. There are several organizations along the lagoon that serve as our saviors. They spend their time, literally watching and listening to the life of the lagoon. One of them is the Indian River Keeper, a single advocate, modeled after the iconic Hudson River Keeper who for 44 years has helped save the Hudson River in New York from polluters.
We have a new Indian River Keeper, and it’s a thrill just to talk to the guy. He is Marty Baum. His family has been living on the Lagoon for six generations, at least the last 146 years, so he has a right, as they say.
His first address to the public is on his website, just follow the link below
I met Marty for the first time last week in the offices of ORCA, the Ocean Research Conservation Association, another one of those watchdogs. ORCA lives at the old Coast Guard Station on Ft. Pierce Inlet, along with the Indian River State College Marine Science Center. Marty and I strolled out along the banks of the Ft. Pierce Inlet and got to know each other.
Marty is outgoing, jovial, a scraggly silver moustache hides an ever ready grin, and he loves to peer out over his glasses to make a point. Marty said it was his sense of responsibility that lead him to go after the Indian River Keeper’s job and he considers it a lifelong achievement to be the latest to carry on this tradition.
Talking about his family and the Lagoon, Marty says, “ We’ve used it as our highway…back and forth for commerce. We’ve been born here, we’ve died here. We’ve fished it. It’s provided for us. And now I have an opportunity to give something back to the lagoon.”
And Marty has hit the ground running. Not only has Mr. Baum lived on the Lagoon his whole life, he has become an authority on the history of early pioneer life in SE Florida. He understands the context within which we sit today, so if you ask him what restoration of the lagoon means, he immediately asks what era of the lagoon’s history do you want to restore? Pre-history, pre white man? Pre US Army Corp of Engineers? Pre-agriculture?
These are complex issues and Marty believes his first job is communicating the issues to the public, so if you want to hear and learn from Marty Baum, tune into RADIO Green Earth this week for a glimpse into the personality of our newest watchdog.
Also this week we get an update from Warren Falls about ORCA activities in the Indian River Lagoon as well as new projects farther South, and a chance for you to meet and chat with the great Carl Hiassen. That’s all this week on Radio Green Earth.