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 six 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 2021, is The State You're In: Florida Men, Florida Women, and Other Wildlife. 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.

COMMENTARY

It’s a sin what we’ve done to Florida’s seagrass

By: - August 5, 2021

The news reports around where I live in St. Petersburg have been greatly concerned with weights and measures recently. It’s an effort to quantify the horror of the ongoing red tide algae bloom by recounting the staggering amount of the sea life that has turned up dead: 500 tons! Three million pounds! 1,711 tons! And […]

COMMENTARY

Florida Wildlife Corridor subverted by a gold-medal Tallahassee Switcheroo

By: - July 29, 2021

I watched some of the opening Olympic ceremonies last week for one simple reason: I had read that Florida has more athletes in Tokyo right now than any state besides California. And they’re not just there to get away from the smell of the red tide fish kills, either. Floridians are competing in every sport […]

COMMENTARY

I think you will never see a FL county so hostile to a tree

By: - July 22, 2021

Hey, do you remember nostalgia? That longing for simpler, happier times can be a powerful force in American life, affecting the success of everything from “The Way We Were” to “Make America Great Again.” Nostalgia can evoke such powerful feelings that the guy who coined the term in 1688, Swiss physician Johannes Hofer, considered it […]

COMMENTARY

Down under FL’s Wakulla County, flirting with disaster with our biggest spring

By: - July 15, 2021

Ask any of my friends (yes, I do too have some!) and they will tell you I love music. Rock-bottom blues, jumping jazz, smooth soul, bouncy bluegrass — name a genre and I’ll name the songs I enjoy. You might say my theme song is the O’Jays’ “I Love Music.” Speaking of theme songs, I, […]

COMMENTARY

Move over, Florida panthers! Refuge wants to let in more people

By: - July 8, 2021

Sometimes I think Florida should hold a regular competition for the The Most Laughably Bad Idea of the Year. Some years, the competition would be pretty fierce because hey, let’s face it, it’s Florida. In others, the winner would be easy to pick. In 2011, for instance, no other competitor came close to the proposal […]

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 […]