Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

August 28, 2014

You’re On Your Own!

The Tiger Shark is a regular visitor to Florida Beaches.
Picture credit: Albert Kok

This story has been on our local news for several days and it has Floridians divided, once again.
I truly did not want to write about this, but the story will not go away.
Those who fish of course, are completely opposed to the idea that anyone, or anything, should interfere with the enjoyment of their beloved sport of “shark fishing.”
Let me begin by saying that I find this ” sport “ both appalling and cruel.
Yes, the East Coast, or Atlantic Coast of Florida, is and has been for many years, the "shark bite capital of the world" but the behavior of these people in the pursuit of their passion, has only added to the numbers, because sharks will always go where there is blood in the water and that is exactly how these people do their ”sport! “
This provocative, enticing and dangerous action, is called chumming.
Sharks are one of the most ancient of all animals that live today on our planet.
They have survived and thrived, when many others, perished and became extinct.
They are a nearly perfect predator and truly need fear few, if any other animals, only Humans.
We have always been the greatest threat to their continued longevity on Earth.
And, this disgusting sport of “shark fishing “ is being done state-wide in nearly every coastal town here now.
There are a plethora of Clubs, Charters and Organizations here, all devoted to the “exciting sport,” their words, not mine, ofShark Fishing.”
The problems arise because of where this sport is being done, which is on the hundreds of beaches in Florida, where swimmers, surfers and tourists are usually gathered for a fun day at the Beach.
What these “shark fishing” groups fail to accept, is that they are responsible for creating a theater of danger at the beach, by their very dangerous actions.
Since the beginning of August, two young children have been bitten by sharks just in Brevard County.
Melbourne Beach Mayor Jim Simmons, is understandably quite concerned for the safety of those who not only come to his town, but of what waits for them when and if, they also visit the beach there.
He has personally experienced this dangerous drama on the Beach and wants to stop it before someone is killed.
The reason for all of the division in the state over this Issue, is quite simple.
Local residents and officials want to stop shark fishing, but really have no legal authority to do so, only Florida Fish and Wildlife can do this.
And the chances of that happening, are slim to none.
There will be an FWCmeeting September 11, in Kissimmee, to discuss this and Mayor Simmons not only plans on showing up for it, but to lobby for his concerns there as well.
I can’t help but wonder, where Florida’sBetter Business BureauorDepartment of Tourism stand on this Issue.
Like the line from the movie says, "this is not good for the Tourist Trade.”
So for the time being, it is beach users “beware.”
If you are a visitor here, or a surfer new to the area, please be forewarned, the beaches can be a very dangerous place in Florida right now.
Shark Fishermen using Florida Beaches for their blood sport, are protected by our State Officials.
You, on the other hand, are on your own!
Places to learn more:
Sharks – Wikipedia
Shark kills number 100 million annually
Florida Shark Fishing
Shark-fishing debate hooks town leaders
Florida Shark Attack Risk Has Officials Wanting To Ban Shark Fishing In 2014
International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association
A Shark Fishing Guide
YouTube Shark Fishing  (It is sick and cruel, be prepared!)

August 21, 2014

Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke
For those of you not familiar with her, Winona LaDuke is the Executive Director  of a group called  Honor the Earth.
Last week they began a new campaign  called  “Love Water, not Oil,”  that is vital, no critical,  to all Americans, not  just Native Americans.
What Fracking and Oil pipelines have done and will continue to do to the environment of this country, should be high on everybody’s agenda.
Once our water supplies and land are contaminated, it will take thousands of years to make them safe again.
Hopefully, you will keep this in mind, when you go to the polls to Vote this week and next:
” which candidates are supporting Fracking and Oil Pipelines and which ones are opposed to them? “
The condition of the water and land that you will  have this time next year depends on it.
Here is a brief Bio that I wrote about Winona several years ago.
She was and is,  an amazing woman, that I have the utmost respect for.
A side note that I find interesting about Winona, she and Robert Redford share the same birthday, August 18th!
Winona LaDuke at Dream Reborn Conference  April 6, 2008
Picture credit: Eclectek
Winona LaDuke, who was born in 1959 and grew up in Los Angeles,  is Anishinabe/Anishinaabekwe – Ojibwe and an enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg of the Makwa Dodaem – Bear Clan of the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.
Her father, an Ojibwe was a supporting actor in westerns as well as an Indian activist and her mother, a Russian Jew from New York, was an art professor.
As a teenager LaDuke addressed the United Nations on mining issues.
After graduating from Harvard in 1982, she took a position as the principal of the High School on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.
LaDuke is a Program Director of the Honor the Earth Fund and works nationally to promote and assist Native Environmental groups.
She is a Founding Director for White Earth Land Recovery Project: a reservation-based non-profit organization focusing on land, cultural and environmental issues.
LaDuke co-chairs the Indigenous Women’s Network and is Program Director of the Environmental Program at the Seventh Generation Fund.
LaDuke ran with Ralph Nader in 1996 and 2000 as his Vice-Presidential candidate for the Green Party and worked to increase Native American voter registration and activism.
She has written on environmental racism and is the author of several books including: Last Standing Woman and  All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life
LaDuke spoke at the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, China on August 31, 1995.
LaDuke teaches courses on Native Environmentalism at the University of Minnesota and other colleges and has campaigned for the reduction of nuclear waste.
In 1994, she was named by Time Magazine as one of America’s 50 most promising leaders under 40 years of age.
She currently lives with her two children on the White Earth Reservation.
Places to learn more:

August 16, 2014

Naughty Nudists

Royal Terns on Passage Key Wildlife Refuge in Florida
Picture credit: USFWS

When this came on our Noon News yesterday, at first I thought that it must be a joke, but as it turned out, it was quite the opposite.
A Florida Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast near Tampa, called Passage Keys, with a resident population of rare Native birds like Royal Terns, is being disturbed by Nudists.
The Nudists are allowed to wade in the water offshore, but are forbidden to go onto the Beach, where the Birds are Nesting.
There are signs and the area is patrolled.
This Federally protected habitat is off-limits to the public, but a seemingly ignorant and determined group of Nudists have been going ashore and the birds who are not used to having humans on their Nesting Beach area, are flying off.
This is not good.
Anyone who knows anything about wildlife, knows that when they are disturbed and their habitats are invaded,  or their daily eating routines are interfered with, they may suffer serious consequences from it.
A hungry animal that is frightened away from its food source or nest, may or may not return, before it is too late.
A few months ago, in a similar kind of Island Environment on the Atlantic Coast, also with a group of nesting rare Terns, several  dogs were allowed to run loose on the Island and they did irreparable harm to all that they encountered.
By the time it was over, the Nests, the Chicks and the Terns were all gone!
Complete, absolute and total destruction, for what?
It would be extremely sad to see a repeat of this tragedy on the West Coast.
Places to learn more:
Popular Fla. nude beach causing problem for wildlife
Birds, nudists edge for space at Passage Key
Rare birds disrupted by nudists on wildlife refuge
Newly reformed island is for the birds, not nudists, according to feds
Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge
Passage Key Wildlife Refuge

August 7, 2014


A drop  of Water
Picture credit: José Manuel Suarez

The absence from this obviously addictive pleasure, has left me with a great deal of time to ponder what the subject of the first posting here would be, after being cleared by my Doctor to resume a somewhat normal life.
Before beginning,  I must take the time to say,  from the very depths of my heart, how much all of your comments and kind wishes and thoughts have meant to me, while I suffered here in the darkness of my self, or medically, imposed prison.
You simply overwhelmed me with your responses.
But, now back to work!
So, what was brewing, or festering in my mind all of this time?
It seemed like nearly everyday for the past week, there has been a story on our News about Water.
The problems with Water are not just local, they are Global, and they are,  or should be, our number one concern.
No water, no people, no life!
It really is that simple.
After the air that we breathe, Water is, in my opinion, the second most vital element, in sustaining all life on Earth.
The World’s problems with Water are, unlike our absolute dependence on it, quite complex and come from multiple sources.
In Ohio right now, exactly like so many places in Florida, the Water has become toxic from farm, and/or pesticide runoff.
Here in Florida, the Indian River Lagoon,  Everglades, Lakes Okeechobee and Toho, all have toxin/pollution problems that are Human caused.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife have either already died, or are continuing to die, at all four places, even though proposals have been made to repair the damage, or improve the situation, still the deadly pollution remains.
In the meantime, no one at the top, in either state, seems to have  the temerity or the  power, to tell the farmers to stop poisoning our water supplies with their careless disposal of poisons and complete disregard for Water safety or purity.
But,  if we don’t force them to change their deadly, destructive, dangerous habits, we are all, every single living species on this planet, doomed.
Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are not compatible with life, they are now and will continue forever, to kill us all, until we are finally gone.
Not all of our Water problems come from chemical abuse, there are others.
Right now in many states, people cannot drink their Water because of fracking, places like Colorado and Pennsylvania have Water that can and does,  catch on fire.
Who wants to drink that?
Another disastrous Water problem,  is not what is being done to it, but the complete absence of it.
In California,  my home for over 30 years, the entire state is now in the worst drought of their history.
Entire Industries there are either dying, or are already dead, from the total lack of Water.
So, what is the answer, you ask?
Well, since the crisis with Water is Global, perhaps we should all be working together to solve this dilemma.
That really is not the appropriate word though,  is it?
This is not a dilemma, this a is a Global ” life or death “ situation, that will soon have an ending, one way or another.
We, Humans, will either do what must be done, or we will not.
Two of our planet’s most important Global Organizations, the United Nations and  the World Health Organization  are imploring us to do just this.
Nothing really big is hanging on this decision, just all life on Earth.
It is our choice,  what will we choose?
Will it be Water?
Here are a few of the many places where Water is in great jeopardy in the US:
Ohio, Florida, California, New York, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Texas
Some places to learn more:
Water Facts
Global Water Issues
WHO – Water
United Nations – Water Issues
Water – NRDC
World Water Day: 10 Places Most in Need of Clean Water
The Ten Biggest American Cities That Are Running Out Of Water
Driest year ever in Calif. sparks fire, water fears
Ohio Regulators Aim to Help Water Problem With Fertilizer Licenses
In Florida, Toxic Algae is a Year-Round Fight
Pollutants threaten the Everglades’ future