Environmental activists fight climate change in Florida

World Today

Environmental activists fight climate change in Florida

In 2018 alone, the U.S. state of Florida suffered a massive hurricane, flooding, and dying wildlife. Environmental activists say they are now stepping up the fight against climate change, and what they say are human-made disasters.

CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports.

Clean water activist Colleen Gill saw three dead dolphins in one day at Naples Beach in Florida. She’s on a mission to document dire conditions in real-time via Facebook and other social media sites.

“[I’m] trying to step in where the information is not getting out to let the public see what’s really happening,” said Gill. “There’s a lot more happening, and a lot more species dying.”

A number of dolphins have washed up dead on South Florida beaches in the past few weeks, and red tide is suspected. Some studies suggest fertilizers associated with sugarcane and citrus productions are contributing factors.

The past two years have been tough for the state: a green algae bloom emerged on the east coast, and a red tide on the west side—both toxic to wildlife and humans.

In October, residents of the Florida panhandle lived through one of the strongest storms in years, Hurricane Michael. Last year, it was Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys.

A recent U.S. government report confirms climate change is having an impact on Florida. But not everybody buys it.

“I think it’s a hoax, I think it’s to get more money,” said Robin McLaughlin, a Florida resident.

Some detractors believe it’s part of the earth’s cycle. But activists in Florida are convinced humans are to blame, and they want the federal government and state officials to act.

Gill and other environmentalists recently showed up at an event with Florida governor-elect, Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis may not have provided them with the answers they wanted, but he addressed the clean water issue.

“We know that that is something that affects the way of life here in the state of Florida,” said DeSantis. “It affects our economy and I really view it as a foundational issue that we have to get right if we want to continue to be a prosperous state.”