SWFL Beaches & Wildlife Are Devastated. Time to Change!
As owner of the William C Huff company and an avid fishing enthusiast, I can no longer just sit back and say nothing about the fate of the quality of our pristine Southern Florida area. When I came to Naples 23 years ago, there was barely a 2-lane road connecting Naples to Marco Island. Now there are 6 lanes extending towards Marco which narrow to 4. It is bumper to bumper most of the time in season and more than a dozen mega developments are now in play or in development stages. [caption id="attachment_14085" align="alignleft" width="225"] courtesy of Matt DeVitt WINK NEWS[/caption] [caption id="attachment_14086" align="alignleft" width="169"] courtesy of Matt DeVitt WINK NEWS[/caption] [caption id="attachment_14087" align="alignleft" width="225"] courtesy of Matt DeVitt WINK NEWS[/caption] [caption id="attachment_14088" align="alignleft" width="225"] courtesy of Matt DeVitt WINK NEWS[/caption] I have first-hand witnessed a dramatic decline in water quality and the overall fish and bird populations, despite stricter and stricter fishing regulations. What used to be mostly clear and vibrant water color in the “back waters” of the 10,000 Islands is now almost always cloudy. I know there is a lot being done to “reclaim” some of the lands that drain from Lake O into the southern part of the state but, the rapid development based on the retiring 77 million Boomers is taking its’ toll faster than anyone could have predicted. As a company, we have pledged, as much as we can, to limit our carbon footprint. I have even initiated building 100% negative carbon footprint homes but, I am just one person, one business and there is almost nothing being done to curb the effects of our glut for more shopping centers, golf courses and condo developments. This year the Southern Coast of Florida has been pummeled with toxic red tide. This is not going away any time soon and now it is having serious negative impact on our economy and our wildlife. It is heartbreaking. As a home owner and business owner, I stand to lose value and income if people stop wanting to be here in Sothern Florida. There is not a lot we can do about what’s already in play with regards to existing developments but, I do think we need to take immediate and drastic steps with what we already have, in order to curb this dreaded problem. I believe there needs to be an immediate ban on all none natural fertilizers, we need to stop all fracking and all new buildings need to have negative carbon footprints, both residential and commercial. Also, common sense needs to apply when it comes to parking lot sizes. It has gotten out of hand, as we witnessed first-hand with our recent warehouse addition. The county has a minimum parking lot size that meets retail needs, even though we are nothing but a storage building with only one or two people in the warehouse. I was driving through a maze of parking spaces down at Lowes on the corner of 951 and there were acres and acres of parking areas that could never be used. Politicians, historically, have proven to be the worst at coming up with solutions and, it always takes years to agree on a solution, if one is decided on. Our communities need to act swiftly and responsibly. A real grass roots movement to reduce our toxic run offs. I will be advising my landscape people today to not use any chemical fertilizers for grass at my offices and at my home. I was on the fence about whether to “zero-scape” our new 100% solar attainable residential homes but, now I will make a point to have no landscaping that requires additional water beyond what comes naturally. As homeowners and business owners, it is time for us to not wait for government mandates but, to do what we can, TODAY, to make a difference. I challenge all Floridians to make changes in how they handle the environment. Stop using chemicals now, call for a quote to get solar to replace conventional electricity (the reason we need to frack and drill for gas and oil is because 40% of all none renewable fuels are used for producing our electricity). If we stop needing to rely on conventional electricity, then there will be no need to drill for more oil and gas. Fact is, it is no more expensive to convert 100% to solar in Florida, for our electricity, than it is to pay our regular utility bill. And, if you have enough solar panels, it is very feasible to charge an electric car, further reducing our dependence on oil. -Jim
Posted by Jim Henderson