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Each month, the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute team curates Florida's environmental news and puts it into context by explaining what’s going on, why it matters and what we can do about it.

This month we are bringing you a special edition focused on the 2022 Florida Legislative Session! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming next month. 

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The Florida State Legislative Session is an action-packed 60 days. This year’s session began on January 11 and ends on March 11.

Our student-led team has sifted through thousands of bills to find those that pertain to our state’s environment. For some, we have talked to policy experts and scientists to provide context about how the proposed legislation might impact our state.

It is important to note that only a fraction of the thousands of bills that have been introduced are actively debated on the chamber floor. The only bill that absolutely must be passed is the state’s budget, which Gov. Ron DeSantis is referring to this year as the "Freedom First Budget." The proposed budget includes more than $660 million for Everglades restoration, $195 million for water quality improvements, $40 million toward algal bloom research and cleanups, $3 million toward removal of invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades, and over $550 million toward coastal resiliency projects. Read more about the proposed budget in this press release.

Our coverage is by no means exhaustive, but we hope it will orient you to the hot topics that are on lawmakers’ minds this session — climate change and energy, water quality/quantity and agriculture, just to name a few. 

Use the links below to learn more about some of this year’s proposed legislation. Learn how to track these bills in our previous Action of the Month.  

Have questions about any of the proposed legislation? Email, and we may be able to connect you to an appropriate expert on the subject.

As continuing research reveals oftentimes harrowing projections for the future of Florida, the state is attempting to catch up with climate change – and its impacts – through proposed legislation.
Read more

Agriculture is inextricably linked with Florida’s natural resources and balancing production with environmental conservation isn't always an easy task. While one new bill deals with citrus greening, another would address water pollution. 

Read more

The energy consumed in the Sunshine State varies in source from nonrenewable resources, like coal, to renewable resources, like solar. Energy production using renewable sources instead of nonrenewable can decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. Several proposed bills look to plan for Florida's energy needs in the next couple of decades.

Read more

Floridians currently use about 6.4 billion gallons of water per day, but that demand is expected to grow to 7.4 billion gallons by 2040. This growing water demand, along with other concerns like saltwater intrusion and nutrient pollution pose a threat to Florida’s water supply. Legislation introduced this session aims to address the quality and quantity of Florida’s water resources.

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With thousands of unique species of flora and fauna and dozens of federally endangered or threatened organisms, Florida faces distinctive conservation challenges. Proposed legislation includes enhanced state review of land changes within or near the Everglades Protection Area, establishing an Office of the Blue Economy, reversing a 2020 law that limits rights of nature legislation and developing a seagrass mitigation banking system. 
Read more

Each time single-use plastic items like bags, straws or cups are incorrectly discarded, it contributes to the widespread plastic pollution that countries are scrambling to remedy. An existing statewide preemption prohibits cities from enforcing single-use plastic bans. This session legislators are looking to reverse it.
Read more

Learn more: 

Action of the Month:
Understand Your Water Footprint

The warmer temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events associated with climate change can all have an impact on the way we access and use water resources. In Florida, where water is key to economic, agricultural, and urban sectors, it is important to understand ways we can minimize and adapt the use of this vital resource.

Needless to say, there’s good reason to be aware of how your individual water usage and consumption, or what’s known as your water footprint, contributes to the greater whole. Great news, understanding a water footprint is a relatively simple action to take this month

Read more
Earth to Florida's Action of the Month is produced in collaboration with the UF Office of Sustainability. If you’d like to learn more about sustainability at UF, follow Sustainable UF on Instagram or Facebook!
Like our Action of the Month column? Visit our Instagram page for weekly actions you can take for the betterment of the planet. 

What We're Reading

Environmental protection and social justice are deeply intertwined, and we cannot accurately communicate the environmental issues facing our state without acknowledging this relationship. In this monthly Earth to Florida segment, we will share articles, videos and events that help explain these connections. 

Tell Me About

Tell Me About is a weekly series on TESI's Instagram channel that explains environmental topics facing Florida and why they matter. Click the images below to learn more about septic tanks and mangrove migration in Florida. 
Visit our blog posts below to learn more about these topics! Learn more about Earth systems-related topics through our other student-produced educational videos! (Great for classrooms!)

What's the Word?

When reading environmental news, you may hear a lot of buzzwords. Our What's the Word Instagram series helps define terms you may come across while reading stories. Click the images below to learn more! 

Know Your Florida

Want to impress your friends with all you know about our beautiful state? Follow us on Instagram @KnowYourFlorida and get to know your state, your nature, your history — your Florida. See below for some fun facts from this month.


TESI Events & Learning Opportunities

To keep up with our upcoming events, visit our Upcoming Events calendar.

About the Institute

Started in 2018, the mission of the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute is to advance communication and education about Earth systems science in a way that inspires Floridians to be effective stewards of our planet. 
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