Author

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 five books, including the New York Times bestseller Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, which won a gold medal from the Florida Book Awards. His latest, published in 2020, is Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther. The Florida Heritage Book Festival recently 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.

COMMENTARY

Florida’s air quality is great — just don’t inhale the algae bloom poison

By: - July 1, 2021

I’ve been married for more than a quarter century, so I am a little hazy about how the dating world works. But I recall a time — way back around the Mesozoic Era, I think — when you’d hear someone trying to convince a reluctant friend to go on a blind date by using language […]

COMMENTARY

Cracking the case of who smothered a Florida river

By: - June 24, 2021

I grew up in a family of mystery fans. My grandfather owned all the Perry Mason novels and never missed the TV show. My great-aunt was head over heels for John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee. My mom read everything Agatha Christie wrote about Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. I started out with Encyclopedia Brown, then […]

COMMENTARY

Proliferation of pumping permits produces preposterous pipeline proposal

By: - June 17, 2021

I hope you are sitting down. I have some startling news. I have learned that Florida people do not have a great reputation for using the sense that God gave us. Shocking, isn’t it? Do you need some smelling salts? Apparently, our Florida men and Florida women are known nationwide for doing crazy stuff like […]

COMMENTARY

FL Legislature, longtime enemy of conservation funding, OKs creating wildlife corridors

By: - June 10, 2021

Eight years ago, I talked to a nature photographer named Carlton Ward Jr., an eighth-generation Floridian, about a crazy idea he had. To me, it sounded both heroic and quixotic, but I didn’t tell him that. Ward’s idea, cooked up with bear biologist Joe Guthrie, was to lead a small group of people on a […]

COMMENTARY
algae bloom

To fix Florida’s latest toxic algae crisis, fix the DEP

By: - June 3, 2021

Dear Gov. DeSantis, Hello again! I wrote you a letter last year and you didn’t respond, but it’s OK. I figure you’re pretty busy, what with battling the cruise industry and Big Tech. I’m writing to you again because you’re facing a great opportunity right now, and I want to be sure you don’t miss […]

COMMENTARY

Goliath grouper making a comeback in Florida, so let’s kill ‘em

By: - May 27, 2021

This is a fish story. A really BIG fish story. Florida’s waters are as full of odd creatures as our streets are. We’ve got walking catfish, which are both invasive and disturbing to watch; the pig-snouted (but delicious) hogfish; and some weird-looking sea cucumbers that are valuable because some folks believe them to be an […]

COMMENTARY

FL allowing mining of state-owned wetlands has a certain smell to it

By: - May 20, 2021

I got another speeding ticket a couple of weeks ago. I’m not proud of that fact. It’s my first in quite a while, but in 40 or so years of driving Florida’s highways I’ve racked up enough infractions to qualify as a Leadfoot First Class. My excuse is that it’s genetic. My dad, who taught […]

COMMENTARY

FL’s first chief science officer talks about the job — and the controversy

By: - May 13, 2021

Last week, I had coffee with a scientist named Tom Frazer. I was trying to nudge him to say some things about his former boss, but he was choosing his words verrrrry carefully. We sat at a sidewalk table in downtown St. Petersburg, both of us fully vaccinated but still maintaining our social distance, because […]

COMMENTARY

Big Sugar burns fields, bends DeSantis and FL Legislature to do its bidding

By: - May 6, 2021

When my kids were younger and in Boy Scouts, I enjoyed going camping with them around the state. We’d splash in the springs, paddle the rivers, tromp through the swamps. The day’s adventures would always end with a campfire – and a problem. Campfires are essential to making s’mores, but oh, that smoke! Somehow the […]

COMMENTARY

Is FL facing another Summer of Slime? Thank Gov. DeSantis and do-nothing Legislature

By: - April 29, 2021

Sometimes I wonder what it was like to be one of the early Spanish explorers of Florida, back when you could see it in all its swampy, bug-infested, gator-bellowing glory. I can’t help but wonder about their reaction the first time they noticed the waters of what we now call the Gulf of Mexico had […]

COMMENTARY

For Florida Woman Shannon Estenoz, just appointed to U.S. Dept. of Interior job: Here’s a to-do list

By: - April 22, 2021

NEWS ITEM: Biden administration nominates fifth-generation Key West native Shannon Estenoz as assistant interior secretary for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service (April 14) Dear Shannon, First of all, congratulations! As a fellow Florida native — albeit one from the Panhandle, not from the Keys — I am always happy to see […]

COMMENTARY

Hiding Piney Point toxic waste underground may give us a taste of super-nasty water

By: - April 15, 2021

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference at Piney Point, the old phosphate processing plant near Tampa Bay. Only a week earlier, Piney Point was making international headlines for being the source of a potential toxic waste disaster — not for the first time. Now the crisis had been averted, and DeSantis didn’t […]