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Terry Winckler's blog

You decide. Check out this picture of Florida's waterways—choked with algae—and choose which of the following quotes best describes the photo. Both speakers were referring to attempts in the state legislature to keep the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the amount of nutrients flowing from utilities, industry and large-scale farms into Florida's waterways. The nutrients feed an explosion of algae.

I’ve spent half my life chasing salmon with rod in hand and heart in mouth, but it seems that I am the one who’s been hooked. Enchanted, perhaps, is a better way of describing my love of all things salmon; thus, at 8 p.m. this Sunday, you’ll find me riveted in front of a TV watching the PBS special, Salmon: Running The Gauntlet.

Coming from an Irish family and working for Earthjustice, I have an affection for green that is DNA-deep. But, I know the difference between the green of nature and the green of greed -- and nowhere is that difference so starkly obvious as in Florida. An explosion of green algae slime, fed by uncontrolled agricultural and sewage runoff, is taking over that state's famed waterways. It's murdering fish by the thousands, stinking up the air, fouling everything it touchs, and preventing recreation use.

Today—Earth Day—I was trying to figure out what kind of angle to write about, when I remembered a column I wrote last year, reflecting on the first Earth Day in 1970.

What struck me about that column is how it revealed that recycling, which we now take for granted as a cultural and financial institution, didn't exist on any kind of public scale just 41 years ago. The first Earth Day brought about this remarkable social change. Thus, in the spirit of recycling, I offer up last year's column, with its reflections on what it was like when it all began.

As Chesapeake Energy Corp. struggles to contain a massive spill of toxic, hydraulic fluids yesterday at a natural gas fracking site in Pennsylvania, it also is struggling to explain how this dangerous event happened and how they are handling it. I mean, how do you explain away the poisoning of water supplies, waterways and farmers' fields?

As oil and gas prices again climb in response to Middle East travails, the phrase “Drill, Baby, Drill” has re-entered the national conversation—but it’s President Obama who did the uttering this time. And it sounds like he means it.

Obama mentioned the mantra Tuesday night in a speech about energy independence that came across like the opening shot in his 2012 bid for reelection. Alluding to “D,B,D,” the president said this is no time to be caught up in meaningless rhetoric that stampedes us to nowhere.

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