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Webinar: Troubled Waters and Troubled Planet: 50 years since the first Earth Day

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Wednesday, 22 April 2020, 2:30

Wednesday, April 22, 2020. 2:30PM. Webinar: Troubled Waters and Troubled Planet: 50 years since the first Earth Day. Bill Mitsch, FGCU. Sponsored by NOAA Central Library. More information here


The burning Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio in July 1969 was symbolic that there was something seriously wrong with our urban environments, and it partially led to the first Earth Day in the USA on April 22, 1970. As we “celebrate” the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, our over-crowded, climatically challenged, and poorly managed planet is now threatened even more. Metaphorically, it is as if Covid-19 is Nature reminding us that we may have now gone just too far. My discussion will focus on the ecological calamities that are happening everywhere: the Federal government's decision in January 2020 resulting in a drastic reduction in wetland protection after defending the Clean Water Act for 45 years; signs that the demise of sea turtles reflects that our seemingly unlimited oceans are polluted with plastics and accelerated red tide; freshwater harmful algal blooms that threaten our aquatic life and even human neurological systems; the use of poisons such as glyphosate continue to reveal our misguided attempts to control landscapes and nature while referring to its use as “restoration”. Even when we try to restore the Florida Everglades with massive funding of $20B, we are really heading towards another “what were they thinking?” system of pipes, pumps and reservoirs where ecological engineering would be much more appropriate. We really need to ask Mother Nature, “What would you do, Mom?” Still, there is hope that we can develop sustainable methods to heal our landscapes through approaches such as “wetlaculture” that show promise in reducing the relentless application of fertilizers across our agricultural landscape while restoring and creating large acreages of wetlands in order to make up for the enormous wetland losses and their nature-healing processes and cleaner water in rural and urban settings.

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