The elegant pelicans that Florida shores are so famous for are dying after being exposed to millions of gallons of toxic sewage that was dumped into Tampa Bay in September. The ones that are still alive are paralyzed.
Gov. Rick Scott, who has made destroying Florida’s formerly clean environment a top priority, has, so far, been mute about his pro-pollution agenda since the Pelican dye-off began on Wednesday.
Since Gov. Scott took office in the 2010 Tea Party wave election, Florida wildlife has been dying-off in alarming numbers. Red Tide and toxic algae blooms in 2012 and 2013 are responsible for the deaths of more than 300 pelicans, 200 manatees, and 150 dolphins, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
To make matters worse, Mother Jones brought attention to the radioactive waste leak that poisoned the environment, drinking water, and food supply of thousands of Tampa area residents, when a sinkhole at a fertilizer plant erupted. The company responsible tried to keep it secret, but the pollution was so bad, trying to pretend it didn’t happen was impossible.
About 30 minutes east of Tampa Bay, a 45-foot-wide sinkhole opened in late August, depositing at least 215 million gallons of polluted, slightly radioactive water into a vast underground aquifer… The company responsible for the spill, fertilizer giant Mosaic, didn’t publicly disclose it until… two weeks after it started.
Gov. Scott’s pro-pollution policies favor one of his biggest donors, the Koch brothers. The rollback of environmental regulations are reported to be responsible for an increase in the cancer rate for “anyone who dares to eat Florida seafood more than once a week.” Florida pollution has also been linked to risks associated with Alzheimer’s, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease.
As local wildlife rescues try to save the paralyzed and dying pelicans, Florida residents have every right to be outraged, disgusted, and deeply saddened by this senseless disregard for wildlife and the ecosystem that sustains the food chain we all need to survive. There’s a visual element here, too. Birds flying over Florida beaches and wading in wetlands are like precious jewels to the human eye; the stuff art and postcards inspire. Why should any politician think they have the right to take this away?
What environmental deregulation swamp-dwellers like Gov. Rick Scott fail to acknowledge is that no amount of money can buy what a filthy environment destroys. And that’s probably because corrupt politicians don’t care. People need to remember this next Election Day, not the bitch-fest TV commercials that ignore what really matters. Nothing on this planet can survive without clean water. Nothing.
Tobin is the author of ‘Afterlife: The Journey Of A Dog’s Spirit.’ This heartwarming story is told through the eyes of an animal spirit that has been sent back to earth in the body of a small dog. His mission is to help a young woman discover that their destinies are more connected to the powers of the Spirit World than either of them ever imagined. If you’ve ever shared your life with a dog or any other pet, you will never look at them the same way again after reading this book. Available now on Amazon.com.
Featured image: Generic CC BY-ND 2.0 Tim Donovan/FWC