Earth Day: Nine Ways Florida Is Screwing Up the Environment

Happy Earth Day, Florida! We're all gonna die!

Yes, today is the day we're supposed to be conserving, planting trees, turning off the lights, and collecting all that recycling. But the reality is, things are not looking as green as they should in the Sunshine State.

Florida is a land literally named for all its flowers. But the darker side of things is the reality that Florida's overall environmental state is a mess. How bad is it? So bad that we're turning the Everglades into shopping malls, spewing tons of garbage into the air, and pretty much sinking into the ocean.

So let's all gather 'round and take a gander at nine ways we're completely killing our environment down here!

See also: Eight Places in Florida to Visit on Earth Day Ranked by Outdoorsiness

9. The Slow Disappearance of Natural Habitats Or, to use the more technical term: URBAN SPRAWL. A couple of years ago, the Florida FIsh and Wildlife Commission released a report that says the Everglades and other wild parts of the state will be nothing but roads, buildings, houses, skyscrapers, and shopping malls in the next 50 years.

We already might be seeing the effects on animals like the Florida panther being squeezed out of its natural habitat into people's property and roads, where the animals are easy targets to get killed.

Not to mention the oil companies that want to drill smack dab in the middle of the panthers' habitat. Because, PROGRESS!

8. Rising Sea Levels The hefty combination of climate change and summer storm surges is basically slowly drowning our state. According to a recent study by the University of South Florida, sea levels have increased on Florida's Gulf Coast by four inches in the past 20 years. For years, scientists have been giving out dire warnings about how Florida is only a few decades from turning into Atlantis.

7. Power Plants Florida doesn't only lead the U.S. in screwing up presidential votes and in moronic gun laws. It also leads the U.S. in really toxic power plants.

A recent study by the National Resources Defense Council says that Florida is the third-most-toxic state in the U.S. The main culprit for this? All the shit our power plants spew into the air every year.

Another study found that FPL's West County Energy Center in Palm Beach County is the state's third-dirtiest plant.

The power plant in St. Lucie is a damned mess. And then there's the possibility that FPL might run power lines through Everglades National Park from Turkey Point nuclear power plant.

Sure this might cause alligators to grow a third eye and panthers to start glowing in the dark, but those things sound totally awesome!

6. Burmese Pythons We all know about the pythons that people keep finding out in the Everglades. They don't belong there. They eat everything, kill everything, and multiply faster than Brad and Angelina's family. We've tried killing them with contests and declared open season on them, and still nothing works. Experts estimate 150,000 pythons now live in the Everglades, basically because it has no natural predators and is free to roam the state willy-nilly.

In other words, the Snakepocalypse is nearly upon us.

5. Lionfish Native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, lionfish have no natural predators in Atlantic waters, so they've been able to swim worry-free off our coast, rummaging through our oceans like that guy no one ever met whom your uncle brought over for Thanksgiving last year and who ate all the stuffing. Lionfish have been eating all the lobster and preying on food that would normally go to our native fish, like snapper and smaller fish. These little bastards eat everything. And that's killing our local ecosystem.

Some believe that lionfish were introduced into Atlantic waters back in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew struck Miami and broke an aquarium containing the fish, releasing them into Biscayne Bay. It's also probable that owners of the fish just got tired of them and illegally released them into local waters.

According to a study by the University of Florida, it's pretty unlikely lionfish will be completely eradicated from our waters.

4. Aging Infrastructure Just a couple of years ago, a pair of sewage pipes in Hollywood burst, spewing shit everywhere and making life toxic for all. Not much has been done to fix or update the old things in Florida, and it's only a matter of time before we get more shit in our drinking water.

3. Lack of Public Transportation Public transportation in South Florida sucks all the balls. And this is not only an inconvenience for people who need to get around but it's also ravaging our environment.

Crappy public transportation means more people driving their own cars, which means our roads are stacked with cars spewing their carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. All you need to do to be reminded of this is look out your window on your way home from work. Traffic is JAMMED. And all the construction on I-95 and I-75 ain't helping. It's called a carbon footprint, people. And we're shoving that footprint right up the ass of future generations.

2. The Navy's Sonar Testing Thousands of dolphins, including those that swim off the coast of Fort Lauderdale and other parts of South Florida, could be killed within the next five years via Navy military tests. This according to the Navy itself.

Basically, the Navy playing war games is a massive disruption to the environment, not just sea life like dolphins, whales, and sea turtles but also to the environment itself.

Sonar, specifically, threatens the animals by disrupting their foraging and forcing them to abandon their habitat or beach themselves. It confuses the animals, often making them swim in different directions.

Scientists have confirmed that they've found evidence of nitrogen bubbles expanding in whales that damages their organs whenever whales confuse artificial sonar for the sounds of their prey. Because they take a riskier dive than usual as they forage, the damage from the Navy's sonar has them succumb to the same decompression sickness that afflicts scuba divers when they swim to the surface too quickly.

While science is clearly catching up with the Navy, the Navy has been conducting business as usual, at the risk of torturing and killing mass numbers of marine life.

1. Rick Scott's Policies -He's screwed our waters. -He wouldn't sign off on saving the wildflower. -He weakened the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. -He appointed a man who was responsible for screwing up the Everglades to protect the Everglades. -And he pretty much gutted Florida's environmental protection programs.


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