Florida Right to Clean Water campaign leaders hard at work with goal of gathering 900,000 signed petitions by year’s end

Even internationally known performer Jackson Browne offers some help

John Bowne of the Sarasota Right to Clean Water team stands ready to educate ticket-holders for the Aug. 2 Jackson Browne concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater and to collect signed petitions. Bowne had won permission from the performer to set up the booth at the venue, a news release says. This was the third event of Browne’s world tour during which he allowed representatives of the Right to Clean Water initiative to engage with his audience members, the Sarasota team notes. Contributed photo

On Aug. 4, Melissa Martin, coordinator of the Florida Right to Clean Water campaign, announced that, as part of the effort to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2024 ballot, campaign leaders are “sounding the call this summer to activate supporting organizations and donors for a 3-pillar strategy to get us over the goal line [900,000 signatures] by the end of the year.”

Organizers and supporters have collected nearly 80,000 signatures, Martin wrote in her update. Volunteers have set a goal of gathering 300,000 signed petitions, she continued, with the campaign’s leaders hoping that supporters will be able to collect another 300,000. The remaining 300,000 signed petitions are the target of a planned direct mail effort, she added.

“No, we don’t have the tens of millions of dollars from interest groups that normal initiatives have for professional staff and paid petitioners,” she acknowledged. “But we have a story. And we have faith,” she emphasized.

Our focus this month is an All-Call to Anglers,” Martin continued. “We’re partnering with a small business out of St. Augustine, Genung’s Fish Camp, to present a statewide awareness event, the FL Right to Clean Water Fish Pic Tournament, through August 31st,” she also noted.

“Next month comes our call to and work with communities of faith,” she wrote.

“Floridians are likely tired of doom-scrolling through all the articles of how terrible things are with our waters,” she further acknowledged.

Image courtesy Florida Right to Clean Water campaign

On the website, Florida Right to Clean Water leaders point out, “In 1950, there were 2.8 million people in Florida. In 2022, there [were] 22 million. With this explosion of new residents comes an array of certain human impacts — the clear-cutting of water filters and nutrient cyclers; the diversion and hastening of water flows; the removal or degradation of habitats for important species; the alteration or destruction of ecosystems; the (legal) pollution of our waters from all kinds of sources; the futility of politics; the exhaustion of having to fight such issues when nothing seems to stick — and it seems things are somehow getting worse,” the website adds.

​“Well, here’s the next chapter of this story, the climactic point of critical decision making for our beautiful state, hopefully signaling a ‘happily ever after’ for all Floridians.  It is in its truest sense, our #WatershedMoment.”

​The website explains, “A group of folks came together, inspired by the legal possibility and grounds to enact rights-based laws in Florida. They established the Florida Rights of Nature Network and eventually realized that a constitutional amendment would be needed to clarify our actual priorities and a civil action to enforce our right to clean and healthy waters,” it continues, with emphasis.

“The Right to Clean and Healthy Waters is a stopgap, declaring that ‘no more harm’ will be allowed to our waters,” the website points out. “We as Floridians will decide whether our waters being clean and healthy are more important or less important to our state government than the profits that polluters earn by polluting and degrading our waters.”

This is the top of the petition. Image courtesy of the Florida Right to Learn Water campaign

The Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores Neighborhood Association (IBSSA) became the first such organization in Sarasota County to endorse the proposed nonpartisan, state constitutional amendment, proponents of the amendment announced in early May.

The Sarasota County advocacy team notes that persons may contact ronaturek@gmail.com, a local source for information about the petition, to invite a speaker to address a group, to get blank petitions, to arrange for pickup of signed petitions, and to volunteer to help with the petition drive.

To download a petition, go to this link.

2 thoughts on “Florida Right to Clean Water campaign leaders hard at work with goal of gathering 900,000 signed petitions by year’s end”

  1. Excellent article! Thank you Sarasota News Leader and Kafi Benz for helping drive action and awareness so desperately needed. Act now so it’s not too late.

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