Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
Last year the City of Key West Florida voted to become the first city on the U.S. mainland to ban the use of toxic chemicals in sunscreen in order to protect the coral reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a major tourism draw for the region, which locals work very hard to keep pristine. But the ban may never go into effect (unless Governor Ron DeSantis vetos the bill) because on Tuesday the state legislature passed legislation that prevents local governments from regulating any over-the-counter drugs or cosmetics including sunscreen.
Why This Matters: This pre-emption argument is raging everywhere in increasingly divided governments. As we reported yesterday on HFCs, Congress at the federal level wants to pre-empt states from passing tougher laws banning those chemicals. The same thing is playing out here on the state level, with the state government led by a Republican governor and legislature, pre-empting tougher regulations passed by a municipal government. In this case, the Republicans argue that there is not sufficient evidence that sunscreen chemicals harm coral reefs, but there is substantial evidence that sunscreen protects people from getting skin cancer. There is plenty of evidence that sunscreen damages coral reefs and it is also full of chemicals like octinoxate and oxybenzone that actually could be harmful to humans – the government is researching this now. We will see if the Governor agrees with his legislature or takes the city’s side in favor of local control on a decision like this. The Governor did not sign a bill before that would have pre-empted a plastic straw ban, so we will see what he does on this one.
Keeping the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Clean
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation issued a report yesterday entitled “Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys” describing a successful initiative that engages dive professionals and recreational divers to remove marine debris from the reefs in order to protect wildlife, corals, and sponges; and engages the community in marine debris awareness and prevention through education and outreach. In its first year (July 2018 to July 2019) with funding support from the Sanctuary Foundation, local dive operators were able to complete 49 cleanup trips. Nearly 450 recreational divers and 158 professional divers spent 897 hours underwater removing 14,693 pounds of debris, 78 intact lost and damaged fishing and lobster traps, hundreds of pieces of trap debris, and 16,369 feet of line. Dive operators reported results through the Project AWARE® Dive Against Debris® citizen science program. Kris Sarri, president and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, said, “The Goal: Clean Seas initiative empowers local community members and businesses to become stewards of the sanctuary through direct action, and the data gleaned from these cleanup dives will help refine the focus on prevention in the future.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calculated for the first time the value of commercial activities dependent on the nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes and found that they “floated” $373B of GDP in 2018 and that their growth was stronger than overall GDP growth that year.
Why This Matters: Ocean health matters but its impact on the economy is one of the biggest reasons – and now more than ever as we rebuild it.
A new study warns that climate change “velocity” in the deep ocean — the rate at which species’ range shifts in order to remain at their preferred temperature — is greater than at the surface even if we mitigate climate change, and particularly at depths below 600 and 3000 feet.
Why This Matters: The differences in water temperature increases at different depths in the water column could cause major disruptions in food webs as species that rely on each other for survival will have to adapt at different velocities, thus having major impacts on the distribution and abundance of ocean wildlife.
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.