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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Environmentally Speaking

Environmentally Speaking is intended to alert, inform and educate residents of Collier and Lee counties about threats to our unique and delicate Southwest Florida ecosystem.

Southwest Florida Clean Water Movement leader John G. Heim continues to demonstrate through August to complete his 90 consecutive days to educate the public regarding the harmful effects of the Lake Okeechobee discharges. Residents can support Heim by joining him daily at 5 p.m. atop the Fort Myers Bridge (Mantanza Pass).

For updates, visit

Love the Everglades Movement Summer Symposium 2016 on August 6, 7, and 14 is sponsored by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Global Indigenous Group, a student organization at Florida International University. With Giving Back to the Everglades as a theme, the event is intended to raise awareness and organize positive community engagement at the local, regional, national and global levels for restoring the Everglades ecosystem. The movement bridges the talents, imaginations and energy of the diversity of South Florida. Activists, artists, teachers, politicians, clergy, business and media are encouraged to join the Love the Everglades movement.

The event is free with registration. For symposium locations, times and registration, visit

The Big Sugar Summit 2, held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., August 20, at the Embassy Suites West Palm Beach, 1601 Belvedere Road, in West Palm Beach, is sponsored by Florida chapters of the Sierra Club. The sugar industry's influence and impact on Florida and its citizens is felt from the Panhandle to the Keys. There is no more powerful lobbying force than Big Sugar at the local, state or federal levels. Experts from around the country and the world will pull the curtain back on the sugar industry and empower Floridians.

Register for the event at

Don’t swim with toxic algae blooms. A new research study published in the Journal of Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, suggests that a toxin produced by blue-green algal bloom could be linked to a number of neurological conditions. If the results of the study are proven, the toxin, β-methylamino-ʟ-alanine (BMAA)—a cyanobacterial neurotoxin found in contaminated seafood and shellfish, drinking water supplies and recreational waters—may be a major factor in understanding Lou Gehrig’s disease. It would also be identified as the first significant environmental factor that can be linked to the rapidly increasing rate of Alzheimer's in the UK.

Scientists warn that if left unchecked, algae blooms could harm pets that play in the lake, fish or other wildlife. Dense blooms in 2013 killed more than 120 manatees. People are also advised to avoid swimming in water with algae blooms, as it can be harmful if ingested.

For information on the ethnobotanist Paul Alan Cox and the facts regarding BMAA, visit

Vote Yes on Amendment 4 on August 30. By casting a yes vote on Amendment 4, all Floridians will have an opportunity to lower the cost of energy. If passed, the proposed amendment will exempt solar systems from the burdensome tangible personal property tax for a period of 20 years.

For more information, visit

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