I am a full-time resident of Englewood, and I am very concerned, as are most of my friends, family and neighbors about our beautiful Gulf of Mexico and the creatures that live within her.

Our lifestyles, our jobs and our very lives depend on her. With red tide and blue green algae rampant for almost a year killing everything in its path, everyone is concerned, or so I thought until I saw the article in the Sun Nov. 28, entitled “Why Does My Grass Look Like It Has Snow?”

This article, written by Ralph E. Mitchell, the horticulture agent for the Charlotte County Extension Service, literally suggests that homeowners should use glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup) to rid their lawns of the little white flowers known as Florida snow. It is extremely irresponsible of both Mitchell and the Sun to write/print this article supporting the use of glyphosate which is one of the chemicals linked to our environmentally disastrous water problems and the death of our beautiful sea life. I can’t understand why you would print an article advocating the use of poison on the ground that will leach into our water when we are in the middle of the worst ecological disaster in possibly Florida’s history?

Mitchell’s position at the County Extension Office and yours as our local paper, should be a position of educating and advocating for safe methods of lawn care, not telling people to use glyphosate (Roundup or any product with glyphosate in it), the very product which is contributing to the death of our sea life and the pollution in our Gulf waters. There are many snowbirds who have just returned to their homes on our coast and they may not be as aware of the dangerous long-lasting red tide/blue green algae situation as we are. They more than likely look to both of you as a source of knowledge, so I would suggest that you use your position to help the fragile Florida environment, instead of hurting it.

Perhaps Mitchell should suggest using native plants and grasses that are sustainable and don’t require fertilization and water instead of high maintenance St. Augustine lawns. Perhaps writing an article suggesting that the beautiful Florida snow flowers are an asset that feed our bees instead of a scourge would be better instead of recommending poison to kill everything in a lawn and “starting over,” as he suggested to your readers.

Please use your position for the public good instead of contributing to the death of our oceans. We are in trouble here and we need your help. None of us have ever seen anything like this. This is not just red tide.

This past week alone, over 40 dolphins died on our beaches as a result of contaminated water reaching the Gulf of Mexico. Never have we experienced the mass numbers of dead fish, dolphin, turtles and birds literally dropping out of the sky like we are now, and everyone is worried sick about Florida. There are a lot of us here making calls to our local leaders, writing letters to our politicians and working hard for clean water. Everyone needs to work together to make the changes necessary to bring our beautiful environment back to a healthy state.

Carroll Swayze is a resident of Englewood and owner of Carroll Swayze Art Studio.

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