Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. In 30 years at the Tampa Bay Times, he won numerous state and national awards for his environmental reporting. He is the author of six books. In 2020 the Florida Heritage Book Festival named him a Florida Literary Legend. Craig is co-host of the "Welcome to Florida" podcast. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and children.


DeSantis betrays Florida, insists the solution to climate change is burning more fossil fuel

By: - September 28, 2023

Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and I was in high school, I was part of a singing group that traveled around to Panhandle churches and performed religious songs. No, really! I’m not making that up! No one would have confused me with Andrae Crouch. You could accurately describe my singing style as “monotone baritone.” […]


Old Florida growth rules thwarted development that would have made Idalia worse

By: - September 21, 2023

Last month, when Hurricane Idalia clobbered the sparsely settled coast of Taylor County in Florida’s Big Bend region, it sent my memory spinning back nearly 20 years to the first time I visited that area. I was there to report on what was happening to hundreds of acres of swamp and salt marsh in an […]


Using chemicals to treat Florida’s algae bloom problem is like taking aspirin for a brain tumor

By: - September 14, 2023

When our kids were little, one of the things my wife and I taught them was the order in which they should carry out certain tasks: Look both ways BEFORE you cross the street. Ask permission BEFORE you take a cookie. Finish your homework BEFORE you have a light-saber battle with your brother. (Those two […]


To see Jimmy Buffett’s best legacy, look at Florida’s manatees

By: - September 7, 2023

The first time I encountered the Mayor of Margaritaville, he was playing a concert at my college back around the Cretaceous Period. Despite the passage of so much time, I will never forget the experience. What made it so memorable was not Jimmy Buffett’s laid-back musical stylings, or the dazzling craftsmanship of his Coral Reefer […]


How one Florida city beat its stigma as a stinky town

By: - August 31, 2023

This weekend my wife and I helped our older son pack up and move to Jacksonville. He’s starting a new job, occupying a new apartment, and driving a new (used) car. It was a bittersweet trip. After we arrived, we heard about the Nazi who shot three Black people and then killed himself. In other […]


Florida county’s swampy politics lead to bad decision on wetlands

By: - August 24, 2023

Have you ever made your way through a marsh? Tromped through a swamp? Waded in a wetland? I have. It was soooo icky! And wet! Ewwww! I mean, I’ve seen some real prize-winners for swampiness. No wonder Manatee County wants to get rid of their marshes, bogs, and swamps. Sure, sure, sure, Florida’s wetlands filter […]


Amid record heat, Florida agencies give EPA climate change rules a cold shoulder

By: - August 17, 2023

Ooooooo-wee, have you noticed how hot it’s been this summer? Feels-like temperatures are up around 115 degrees, even a heat index of 120 in Pensacola in June. Repeated “excessive heat warnings” from the National Weather Service. Recently, the Miami Herald measured beach sand at 137 degrees and playground surfaces at 177. Ouch! How hot is […]


Rescue of Florida’s endangered Okaloosa darter is quite a fish tale

By: - August 10, 2023

This is a fish story. Not as big a fish story as, say, Jonah and the whale, or Chief Brody versus the shark in “Jaws.” It’s actually about a pretty tiny fish. But, as with Jonah and “Jaws,” it’s a fish story with an excellent outcome. Fifty years ago, a Florida man named Nathaniel Reed […]


Rural Florida residents strike out when their own commissioner pitches a big development

By: - August 3, 2023

I have a confession to make. Some of you may think less of me when you hear it. Others — well, you probably already have a low opinion of me anyway. Since 1975, I have been a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan. I rooted for them in their many lean years, as well as when […]


Fight over protection of Florida spring detonates a furor at county commission meeting

By: - July 27, 2023

Last week I talked to an 80-year-old Florida man who had quite a story to tell. He tried to talk to his county commissioners about protecting one of the state’s most prominent springs. It didn’t go well. He wound up being handed a trespass warning and, as he put it, being “shoved out the door […]


Environmental racism is rampant in Florida, but don’t mention it

By: - July 20, 2023

Last year I wrote a magazine story about James Weldon Johnson, one of the most remarkable Florida men ever. He was a Black lawyer, educator, poet, novelist, diplomat, and civil rights activist from Jacksonville. Among other accomplishments, he and his brother wrote what’s been dubbed “the Black National Anthem.” The Johnsons composed “Lift Every Voice […]


The heat is on in Florida as climate change lands us all in hot water

By: - July 13, 2023

As a collector of clever Florida signs, I could not decide which one was a better commentary. One, circulated by WINK-TV, showed a sidewalk chalkboard announcement: “The heat index is between OMG and WTF.” The other, on a sign outside the Red Barn Bar in Sarasota, made the rounds on social media: “Only good thing […]