(Editor’s Note: When Erin did a video on this incredibly important issue she had over a quarter of a million people watching. Since it’s been posted it’s up to nearly half a million views. If you haven’t yet watched the video, please do. And share with your friends and family. It’s so important for everyone to see.)

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Things are so bad in Florida right now, that well-known environmental activist Erin Brockovich has gotten involved. “This year’s Red Tide outbreak is a direct, and ‘natural’ consequence of the Lake O’ releases and has already killed countless organisms in the sea, all the way up the food chain to sharks and whales, manatees and turtles. There have even been reports of harm done to the exposed population and some hospitalizations.”1

Over the past week, Brockovich has posted several times about the environmental crisis happening in South Florida, calling out Governor Scott and all elected officials in the state to take action and questioning the national media for their silence.

Red Tide and Blue-green algae

Red tide occurs when there is a higher-than-normal concentration of microscopic algae. The organism, K. brevis, “produces brevetoxins that can affect the central nervous system of fish and other vertebrates, causing these animals to die”2 but can also release toxins in the air, causing respiratory irritation.

The blue-green algae (or cyanobacteria), similar to red tide, can grow and accumulate, or bloom, “when environmental conditions such as light availability and temperature are favorable.”3 And water contaminated with toxic cyanobacteria can cause nausea, vomiting and even acute liver failure if it’s ingested. 4

Governor Rick Scott issued an emergency order to combat algae blooms in Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties on July 9th and explained in a news release that the blooms were from Lake Okeechobee water discharges. Something the Army Corps of Engineers spent serious time explaining on Tuesday of this week.

Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds told the crowd that part of the reason there’s so much blue-green algae in the system is because of last year’s Hurricane Irma. The corps also told those in attendance there’s no funding to move Lake Okeechobee water south for the time being. (But it wasn’t just Hurricane Irma or Lake Okeechobee but Big Sugar, an issue we’ve been trying to draw attention to for years. Something peer-reviewed, published research proves.)

Brockovich continued to post, commenting on the impact the blooms are having on businesses and their bottom lines:

It’s one thing to have a platform and another thing entirely to tirelessly use it in order to do what’s right; we can’t thank Erin Brockovich enough for calling attention to the serious and detrimental environmental issue that’s happening in South West Florida right now.

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Sources and References

  1. Health Nut News, August 1, 2018.
  2. WFLA, August 2, 2018.
  3. WFLA, August 2, 2018.
  4. WFLA, August 2, 2018.