What Does the EPA Do?

If you’re familiar with this blog at all, you know that environmental issues are a very big deal to me.

If you care about our planet, no doubt you’ve made sure that the way you go about living your life reflects that attitude of caring. Caring about the Earth on which we all depend.

No doubt you also think that public policy should be made and be carried out in ways that favor the Earth. Ways that, if they don’t actually help our planet, would at least not harm it.

Well, if you feel that way, you’d definitely be at odds with the way our policies about the environment are being made and being carried out right now.

If you’d read this far, some thought relating to the EPA most likely has popped into your head.

And yes, how the EPA goes about its business is a very big deal.

If you’re not quite sure what the EPA does or whether its work actually matters, this article from Nat Geo would be a big help.

It’s a fairly quick read. I recommend it highly.

Public policy matters. It matters a lot.

It’s time to step up our game. The welfare of our Planet and the survival of our species depend on us and what we do. Our elected officials are not only not helping, they’re making it harder for concerned citizens and Earth defenders to do anything.

The sad truth is that this will not change unless we force those in power to make the changes.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Today is Common Courtesy Day!

Yes, it is! So I wanted to put up this quick post and invite my vast readership to be really, really courteous today.

What?! You’re already doing that, 365 days a year?

Me, too!

So, here’s my fall-back plan: if you see anyone acting discourteously today, kindly tell them what day it is, ask them to forego being all mean and stuff and let them know they’re all-good to begin acting the fool again effective tomorrow!

Just make sure you do so in a very, very courteous way!

 

Your paragon of total courtesy, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

DeSantis, Environmental Hero?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a big-time supporter of Donald trump. That was the cornerstone of his primary campaign when he was in a serious fight with fellow conservative and Florida Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam to get the nomination on the Republican side.

You can count me with the environmentally-minded voters who believed at the time that the election of DeSantis was going to mean, at minimum, four more years of of disastrous policies for the environment in the Sunshine State. And for the everglades, in particular.

I am very surprised and incredibly relieved to say that those fears were unfounded. I’m delighted to report that DeSantis has shown in at least three ways, that he’s for real about standing up to Big Sugar in Florida and doing all he can to protect our fragile, beleaguered environment here in the Sunshine State.

What I mean, specifically: he issued executive orders to reverse some of Rick Scott’s horrible policies affecting Florida’s ecosystems.

He sacked pretty much everyone who served on any of Florida’s five water management boards and replaced them with people who actually care about environmental issues and were not lackeys of Big Sugar.

And he immediately beefed up funding for efforts to clean up the Everglades. That included a strong commitment by the State to get the project to complete the Everglades reservoir taken off the back burner.

In an opinion piece published on January 11th, Carl Hiaasen, writing in the Miami Herald, summed up some of these happy and completely-unexpected developments. It’s a good place to start if you’d like to see why many folks in Florida are happily admitting that they had Gov. DeSantis pegged all wrong as far as our state’s environmental issues are concerned.

I still believe that Florida’s interests writ large would have been better served by the election of Andrew Gillum.

But I also believe that it’s always appropriate to give credit where credit is due and I’m delighted to say that Mr DeSantis has–at least up to this point in his time as the state’s chief executive–definitely proved that he is a strong friend of Florida’s environment.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Co-existing with Wildlife

If you’re wondering how to co-exist with wildlife in a humane way, getting some tips from professionals would most certainly be a good thing.

The information found on this site could be very helpful. Especially if you live in a rural area or even if you have more than a few trees around your home in a mostly suburban location.

There are so many helpful tips on the site for small-ish critters, up to and including deer.

In the part of Florida where I live, bears love to raid trash cans and climb trees in sometimes large and up-scale neighborhoods. It’s become a pretty common thing.

Many people believe that this situation is one reason why the State of Florida green-lighted bear hunting again back in 2015. The hunting resumed the following year.

I am against bear hunting under any conditions but the article avaliable from the above link shows that the new regulations here in Florida are very seriously flawed even if you were in favor of the resumption.

If people who live near bear habitats were more bear-savvy, this unfortunate situation could possibly be improved. For tips on co-existing with bears specifically, follow this link.

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

In Praise of Blossoming Trees

In Praise of Blossoming Trees

This post of mine first appeared back on July 5, 2016. I’m running it again today because of the beautiful Tabebuia I saw in someone’s yard last week. That fabulous tree is pictured in the photo at the bottom.

 

There are few things in Nature as beautiful as a tabebuia tree. The photo here is of one I tended, watered and pruned for nine years. Lovely tree; it was a gift from our next door neighbor.

The fact that a tabebuia only blooms for a few days each spring does not detract from its beauty. It’s a reminder for me that life is fleeting and we blossom for a brief season, then fall away and return to the earth. It is good to have your day in the sun!

Though these lovely trees are barren now, there are some beautiful trees, fairly-common in the Sunshine State, which display their gorgeous, bright-yellow blossoms in summer’s sultry heat! I refer to the yellow poinciana, better known to arborists as the peltophorum.

I’ve seen more than a few of them around Central Florida in the last three or four summers; they’re quite a spectacle for those of us who crave a little color in the Florida landscape before autumn’s arrival. They seem to blossom from the top down and the blossoms last a good, long while. They can grow up to 50 ft tall; I’ve seen one nearly that size near the entrance to Disney’s Jambo House Resort.

Count me as one of those Floridians who stays indoors a lot more at this time of year. Day after day of temps in the mid-nineties gets old pretty quick. When I do motor about from place to place here in our subtropical paradise, it’s such a welcome pleasure to be greeted by those lovely yellow blossoms!

Tab-tree-sky-lake-so-March2019-Wrkd-866b (2)

If you’d like to see a brief feature about these fine specimens of arboreal beauty from an excellent source, click on this link.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2016 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Photo credits Benjamin Lawrence Basile

The Environment: The Good News and the Bad News

It may sound like the lead-in to a joke, but that cliche does perfectly sum up where we are right now with the environment.

Where we are as far as taking actions which are desperately needed today, to be more precise.

The situation is dire. That’s an understatement! There are thousands of studies and documents to substantiate just how bleak the situation is for our planet.

And here’s another study for good measure.

The good news is that the nascent Sunrise Movement has a huge potential, not only to change the conversation, but to prod us into taking some very, very necessary actions.

Or to slow down all the foot-dragging, at the very least.

The Guardian published an article yesterday to highlight the work being done by this largely youth-led movement; it’s well worth the next few minutes of your time.

The Earth is our common home. She is not dying. She is being killed! We cannot afford to go on with the status quo.

As you no doubt know, there are very committed, well-financed interests which are going all out to muzzle the voices calling for action and to stifle any change.

We’ll always have that to deal with.

But getting more and more committed friends of the Earth on-board for the fight–including the people who are being galvanized by the Sunrise Movement–may at least give the Earth a fighting chance.

 

Bulldog Ben

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile