More signs of trouble

Here in the US, most of us are very much focused on the upcoming election and all the unprecedented, insane drama coming from Washington.

It’s hard to imagine it being any other way.

But while we’re dealing with a never-ending stream of outrages and crises, all that other stuff that was going on in our world is still going on.

One of those things is the welfare of our Earth. There are so many indicators that our planet is in a bad way. Well, that’s putting it mildly.

One of those signs is that it’s been unusually warm in Siberia this year. Scientists are now seeing temperatures that have never before been recorded north of the Arctic Circle.

It’s just one more piece of evidence. As though more were needed.

Stay engaged. Don’t let yourself slip into hopelessness and despair.

We’ve got to keep shining a bright light on the crises we’re facing on the environmental front.

We’ve got to learn all we can, stay engaged and put our hands to the work.

There are so many on the front lines–volunteers, laymen and professionals–engaged in this work, giving their all to make a difference.

We can support them by contributing our time, contributing financially and by refusing to let other priorities–as urgent as they are–keep us from addressing the singular problem that can render all of the others insignificant.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

From the Eco File: Yes, 100° in Siberia

From the Eco File: Yes, 100° in Siberia

You know I keep a close eye on what’s happening with our Planet. Doing so can be really draining, as many of you no doubt know.

The latest distressing but very important news to land in my inbox: the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk recorded a high temperature of 100 degrees this last Saturday.

Yes, our planet’s in really big trouble. There are so many indicators pointing in that tragic direction. This is just one more.

Don’t look away.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

banner photo is from NASA

Record spending for the Environment in Florida

Record spending for the Environment in Florida

One of the really important headlines coming out of Florida this last week was about the just-passed budget for the coming year and how it highlights new priorities in the Sunshine State.

Make no mistake, this thorough re-ordering of spending priorities is a direct result of Gov. Ron DeSantis replacing former Governor and infamous boot-licker Rick Scott.

Some quick facts to help you get a feel for what this new budget in Florida can mean:

  • $100 million for spring restoration in several locations
  • $417 million for Everglades restoration in particular
  • $40 million for alternative water supply
  • $25 million for research to combat blue-green algae and red tide, specifically.

If you’d like to dive a little deeper into this issue of the new budget and how it impacts our Florida environment, here’s a link to an excellent article that just ran in the latest issue of Florida Weekly.

This development has certainly been heartening for those of us who keep a close eye on environmental issues in the Sunshine State. Gov. DeSantis has been commended over and over again for stepping up on this issue, as well he should.

I’m hopeful that we all will still be offering kudos to Mr Desantis for his wise and serious advocacy for Florida’s environment as his time in office draws to a close.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Basile

Trouble in the Arctic, Trouble Everywhere

As many of you no doubt know, I post about environmental issues regularly. That’s true of thousands of bloggers, of course.

I usually give a great deal of thought to whether the tone of my posts is too dark. I often agonize over such things, truth be told.

But the news is so overwhelmingly bad as the bill comes due, so to speak, for humanity’s stunning and persistent failures to take care of our planet, that merely passing along the plain truth about all this can sound like some blogger woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

I came across writer Dahr Jamail’s article in Truthout yesterday and could see right away that its message was timely, spot-on and needed the widest possible dissemination.

It details a lot of the most recent events that have those of us who keep an eye on environmental issues from getting much sleep. It’s not an easy read.

But you should read it. All of it.

The part of the article that deals with the importance of feeling the shock and grief that any of us feels when coming to grips with the reality of our planet’s degradation is vital. Don’t shrink back from that part of the piece. Let it all the way in.

There are so many engaged in this work. The work of sounding the alarm as we rush ever-closer to the abyss.

Don’t stop reading. Don’t turn a blind eye.

It’s time for all of us to look unflinchingly at the truth and take the actions this grave situation demands.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence 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

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