Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful for. Looking back, we have made strides. Looking forward, we know there is much left to be done.
Above all, we are thankful to live in the Sunshine State. Our natural lands are true gems. Places like the Florida Everglades, Green Swamp, and Tate’s Hell have been saved because public land advocates like you took a stand. Thanks to tried-and-true conservation programs like Florida Forever, we have a steady framework in which we can acquire and manage our state’s amazing ecosystems.
We are also thankful for the voters and volunteers who helped pass the Water and Land Conservation Amendment in 2014. With 4,000+ volunteers and 75% voter approval on election day, Amendment 1 solidified a framework for restored funding. With the passage of Amendment 1, Floridians demanded continuous land acquisition and management funding. We are thankful for those advocates that are still fighting today to protect and purchase Florida’s remaining conservation lands.
Partnerships piece conservation efforts together and we are thankful to be a part of a motivated conservation community. United with a mission to save Florida’s remaining lands, we look forward to helping fully fund Florida Forever in the 2020 session.
We are thankful for our water – not just as a life-sustaining resource, but for its recreation and habitat value. From our wetlands that filter water as it trickles into the aquifer to our estuaries that harbor important fisheries, Floridians depend on water.
Our beautiful ocean waters sustain our tourism industry, and we are thankful for those that take special care to protect them. Plastics are becoming more and more prevalent on our beaches, taking a toll on wildlife and waterways. Communities are taking action to help. We are thankful for passionate volunteers that work to pick up trash at coastal cleanups and educate residents and visitors along the way. Cities like Miami Beach and St. Petersburg have passed single-use plastic bans thanks to vocal advocates and leaders that listen. Governor Ron DeSantis protected municipalities’ rights to protect their water when he vetoed 2019’s bad preemption bill. In the Capitol, we are thankful for legislators who have worked to prioritize water by addressing fertilizer runoff, stormwater management, septic tanks, and biosolids. We will continue to push lawmakers to turn words into action and protect Florida’s most valuable resource.
We have a long way to go in addressing climate change in Florida but we are thankful for the progress made this year alone. We are thankful to hear more and more lawmakers speaking on climate change and for those who have prioritized it at the Capitol with legislative boldness in cutting carbon emissions. We know that climate change will touch every aspect of Floridians’ lives and we are thankful for legislation that considers the impact rising temperatures and sea levels will have on Florida families.
This year we have seen great success in our Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign. By working alongside the Department of Environmental Protection and gathering essential public comments from energy advocates like you, we are thankfully getting closer and closer to upgrading our kids’ dirty diesel buses to clean electric energy.
We are thankful for those Floridians who are taking a stand for our environment, who work every day to make a change in their local communities. We are thankful for the thousands of youth activists who participated in September’s Youth Climate Strike. Today, they continue to make waves across the state. Recently, Miami officially declared a state of emergency over climate change, pushed by local youth activists. It is crucially important that we empower youth to speak up and that we listen to them as they demand climate action and a cleaner world.
Your vote and voice help us drive change. We are thankful for the over 10,000 people who have taken action this year whether they made phone calls, submitted public comments, sent emails, or Tweeted their elected officials. Together, united in conservation, we have made over 98,000 connections with Legislators. With the click of our collective mouses (or mice?), we have sent over 95,000 emails to school board members, state task forces and both state and federal elected officials. From saying No Roads to Ruin to writing Love Letters to Florida, FCV members act every day to save our state – and we are ever-grateful for your drive and determination to fight for the Florida our children deserve.
Lastly, we are thankful for donors who make our work possible. Every contribution counts. You help us publish important educational tools like the Gems Report. You help us unite our fellow Floridians to do what FCV does best: advocate for our land, water, climate, and democracy. With your donation, big or small, we are able to make a lasting impact in the Capitol and in Florida communities.