The Amy H Remley Foundation  
   
     
 

Nature and Man.

Until we understand how man's well being is interwoven with the natural environment - Nature - and this knowledge is in the heart of our young, the mature and their representatives in government, we shall be hard put to achieve the essential balance between competing needs of growth and survival.

Ecosystems

Ecosystems are earth and life functioning together with water the thread connecting all ecosystems on earth. An ecosystem can be defined as a community of organisms, including humans, interacting with one another and the environment in which they live.

Ecosystems are the result of interactions among abiotic (non-living) factors, such as soils, water, nutrients, and climate; biotic (living) factors, such as plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria; and physical and chemical processes, such as fire, floods, drought, energy flow, and water acidification.

An ecosystem can be as small as the community of bacteria, insects, and microscopic plants living in rainwater collected in the crook of a tree, or it can be as large as Southern Florida from Kissimmee the Everglades and Florida Bay or larger still. Boundaries between ecosystems are almost impossible to discern.

Before moving on it is worth dwelling upon two definitions: Extinction refers to the decline and eventual complete disappearance of all individuals of a species or subspecies. Extirpation refers to disappearance of all individuals of a species or subspecies from a particular region, even though the species or subspecies may persist elsewhere. Whereas extinction is forever, extirpation holds out the hope that a species or subspecies may be reintroduced into and persist in its former range.

Interdependence

There is no single ecologic factor that acts alone in any environment. Environmental issues both impact and are impacted by people. Peoples everyday activities are conditioned by the changing periods of day, night and the seasons, so too does nature respond to those very same changes. Time itself has conditioned the global fabric of our existence reflected in the natural cycles of the elements of the environment we live in.

To quote David Suzuki, in his "Betraying Nature" of 8 April, 2009, an essay, the quotation below was published in "the Big Picture", 2009, by David Suzuki and Dave Robert Taylor:

"One of the hallmarks of science is that experiments must be repeatable. So when performing experiments, we remove all the confounding factors that could influence or confuse the results. But nature doesn't work that way. Nature does not operate in a vacuum. Interconnections among the various parts of the natural world are what actually drive it. When we pull it apart, we lose context, and that can mean everything."

Consider these three words having the common root, “ecos” (from the Greek "oikos" meaning home or living together): Economy, Ecology, Ecocide. The Economy is defined as a system for the prudent management of resources for the common good of people. Ecology is the science of relationships between environmental resources and organisms (including people). Ecocide is the wanton or avoidable destruction of natural environmental resources, by pollutants, politics, or people.

Not only are people common to each definition, but the basic elements of each are interrelated and affected by each other. Even the very breath of man and the atmosphere are functionally similar, forests breathe in carbon dioxide from the air converting the carbon to form wood and cellulose and breathe out oxygen for man's need of clean fresh air. Our lungs take in the oxygen for it to course through our bodies bringing life and energy to our being. The passage of day and night and the seasons cooperate to bring life to the trees which in turn provide cover and sustenance to myriads of insects, birds and animals bringing beauty and sustenance to each of us.

Fish, animals, agricultural crops and water sustain life of the people. Farms, forestry, fisheries, industries, commerce and institutions contribute to the economic health of the people. Nevertheless, destructive developments counter act these benefits when trees and wetlands are destroyed upsetting the natural balance of the environment. Harmful pollutants are gathered in run off and delivered into underground waters, causing toxicities and invasions of exotic plants. Hydrocarbon derivatives in fuels for vehicles, power generation and fertilizers, for example, pollute both the waters and the atmosphere that the health and well being of people, the environment and the economy depend upon.

Urbanization

Following World War II, the need for housing, clothing, and food in many parts of the northern hemisphere, particularly Europe and Japan, was very great. By necessity, industrialization to satisfy these needs and to provide employment was rapid and intense affecting many parts of the United States. Slowly, shallow coastal zones of the northern hemisphere were progressively affected by this industrial expansion. Urbanization of industrial centers attracted people from the rural into the new urban areas. Reduced labor for farming activities was compensated by mechanization and increased use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and algaecide. As people became more affluent, vacation travel from northern areas to the south and the purchase of second homes near the resort areas in the south, sponsored urbanization of the coastal regions. Click here for further discussion.

To read an explanation of how damaging uncontrolled urbanization can be click here.

Energy

Urbanization of society since the time of the Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain about the year 1780 and accelerated from the year 1850 to spread world wide, led to the dramatic increase in the need for energy. Both energy for generation and distribution to places where it could be put to use and for portable fuels to be used in vehicles, ships and airplanes for transportation of people, raw material and goods. Climate Change is perhaps the most important impact man has had upon nature. For a dissertation on the human influence upon climate go to the Human Influence page.

Click here to read an examination of energy needs and alternatives to fossil fuels for energy generation.

Water

In Florida, the common source of water for domestic consumption, industry and agriculture is essentially from the aquifer systems of under ground waters. That same source feeds the many attractive springs which are the basis of eco-tourism and recreation. Our bodies consist predominantly of water. Without water we cannot survive. Read about protecting ground water resources.

Persistent bioaccumulative substances

Bioaccumulation is the process by which substances accumulate in the tissues of living organisms; especially toxic substances that accumulate via a food chain.

The need to control bioaccumulative substances in sediments is becoming increasingly important. Over time, whether administered in excess as fertilizers, pesticides or weed killers on land, or to kill submersed aquatic vegetation or algae in our water bodies, chemical poisons accumulate in sediment even though they may become undetectable in water. In combination with each other, and other pollutants they can make a toxic "soup" which is poisonous to microorganisms, the marine food web, consuming biota and eventually harming humans. Methyl mercury from power plant effluent, arsenic from golf course run off, products of combustion from motor vehicles and agriculture chemical additives are among the harmful persistent bioaccumulative substances. Click to read further information on bioaccumulation.

Dioxins

Within that process of bioaccumulation dioxins and furans are some of the most toxic chemicals known to science. For further discussion on this subject go to Dioxins.

Chemical controls

Among the chemical compounds applied to Citrus County water bodies to control submersed plants or algae, are Peroxide, Diquat dibromide, Dipotassium of endothall and Glyphosate that are found in Reward, Aquathol K, Aquathol Super K, and Aqua-star respectively, which are acknowledged to become bioaccumulative substances.

Moreover, there is a tendency for target species to develop resistance to the chemicals requiring increased dosage or frequency of application, adding to costs and making bioaccumulative affects worse.

In the period In 1978/9 six tons of elemental copper were applied to deal with invasive SAV in Kings Bay and Crystal River. Anecdotally, dramatic increases in sediment muck followed, with reduced fish stocks, decreased water clarity, and algae blooms noticeably increased. Manatees were found to have traces of copper in tissues. Some areas of the bay have remained devoid of SAV almost thirty years later, rumor has it that copper in the sediment is the culprit. Consequently, there is citizen reaction against applying chemicals again.

Sovereignty land issues

Springs and spring runs affected tidally suffer erosion from the twice a day scouring of tides which accentuate affects of sedimentation, pollutant run off and erosion, and special protective measures have been enacted into law in F.A.C. 18-21.004. Ms. Connie Bersok, Head of the Florida Springs Initiative at FDEP, Tallahassee, on 18 October, 2007, wrote:

"In addition, the comprehensive plan should reference Chapter 18-21.004(6), F.A.C. This rule section addresses minimal protective measures for those springs that are sovereign submerged lands (not private). Normally, these provisions would be implemented by the WMD or DEP during the environmental resource permit (ERP) review. However, there may be projects that do not require an ERP but would still be subject to these state land management criteria."

Springshed buffering

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The Department of Community Affairs, and 1000 Friends of Florida, have together published, in 2002, a manual entitled, "Protecting Florida's Springs - Land Use Planning Strategies and Best Management practices". It advocates local government create Overlay Protection Districts, having delineated primary and secondary zones, even in developed springsheds, to contain damage being done to water quality and restrict added damage by neglectful development. Strategies to be employed include, zoning and stewardship practices, land acquisition and conservation easements, and voluntary stewardship programs which should be reflected in local government comprehensive plan policies.

News and Views
News Items

November 30, 2013
On environment, shortsightedness costs Florida big.
Scott Maxwell, Taking Names.
read more

October 9, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
The Fuel Cell Industry Review 2013.
read more

September 25, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
The Potential for Fuel Cell Prime Power in Japan.
read more

August 1, 2013
Duke Energy to cancel proposed Levy County nuclear plant.
read more

May 22, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
Electrolysers for Renewable Energy Efficiency.
read more

March 13, 2013
Beyond Electricity: Using Renewables Effectively.
read more

September 24, 2012
Sewer Systems Legal Filing.
read more

February 1, 2012
Fuel Cell Today update.
read more

January 13, 2012
Sewer Agenda.
read more

December 23, 2011
Scientist: Water account overdrawn.
read more

Novemver 14, 2011
Submission to the Citrus County Commissioner, 14 November, 2011.
read more