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Sanibel Sea School executive director speaks to Lions

By Staff | Dec 17, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel Sea School Executive Director Dr. Bruce Neill spokes at the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club's recent meeting.

Sanibel Sea School Executive Director Dr. Bruce Neill recently addressed the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club, focusing on the impact of climate change, red tide and algae on water conditions and aquatic life.

He started by stating that climate change is real, it is driven by human activities, and it is not a scientific debate. Nearly all scientists agree on the cause and effect of climate change. Neill said climate skeptics claim there are not “good” studies, like double blind studies, on it. He humorously stated that there have never been double blind studies on the effectiveness of parachutes either.

Neill noted that red tide is a natural occurring phenomenon that is enhanced by human activity. It is not a plant or animal, rather it is a form of plankton. Nutrients cause the red tide to bloom, and its decomposition depletes the oxygen in the water making it hypoxic. It is primarily this lack of oxygen, not the toxin, that kills much of the aquatic life.

In discussing solutions, Neill pointed out that the water infrastructure of South Florida was created to serve a population that is one-twentieth of the current population. The increased migration of almost one thousand people a day into Florida is not sustainable. He pointed out that the solution to water quality issues starts with the public. People can reduce their use of plastics and fertilizer and cut water usage by using native vegetation and not irrigating lawns. Neill stated that 56 percent of the water usage on Sanibel is for irrigation of lawns, most of which actually runs off into the bay or Gulf. Finally, they can press politicians to discuss detailed plans on their proposals for improving water quality.

For more information, visit www.sanibelcaptivalionsclub.org.