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.


DEP’s language for protecting Florida springs copies what doesn’t work

By: - March 24, 2022

The other day I had reason to call a plumber. I figured he would make me wait all day for him to show up, take forever to fix the problem, and then overcharge me. Folks, I was wrong. He showed up right at 9 a.m., snaked out the clog in our sewer line in record […]


Florida’s governor and Legislature did nothing to stop manatees from starving

By: - March 17, 2022

When I was a kid, I loved the Sherlock Holmes stories. I read and reread them all. One I still vividly remember was “The Adventure of the Silver Blaze,” which involves a missing racehorse and the death of its trainer. It contains one of the most famous bits of detective dialogue ever written. After Holmes […]


Drive to delist Florida’s diminutive Key deer was pushed by feds’ wacky ‘WIG’ plan

By: - March 10, 2022

Have you ever seen a Key deer? They’re like a regular white-tail deer but scaled down to the size of a big dog. It’s as if someone crossed Bambi with Marmaduke. I saw one for the first time in 2017 while driving through the Keys. This was a few months after Hurricane Irma plowed through […]


Building gas station where it could pollute this Florida spring would be fuel-ish

By: - March 3, 2022

Russian troops invaded Ukraine last week — you probably heard about that. An international panel of scientists said climate change is worse than we thought, and their prime example is Florida. Meanwhile, our fine Legislature has been too focused on the “culture wars” to fix what’s really wrong with our state (affordable housing, toxic algae […]

The Everglades

Florida’s Senate president is working for one client: Big Sugar

By: - February 24, 2022

I am going to tell you something so shocking, I hope you don’t keel over in a dead faint: Journalists tend to be irreverent. Do you need a minute to sit down? Here’s an example: When I worked at the then-St. Pete Times, we came up with a rude name for the left hand bottom […]


The federal ‘protector’ of endangered Florida panthers was willing to kill one

By: - February 17, 2022

This commentary has been updated. They say that cats have nine lives. I am not sure that’s the case with Florida panthers. Sometimes it feels like everything in the world is trying to snuff them out — everything human, that is. In the 1950s, hunters killed so many panthers that state officials banned shooting them. […]


For helping desperate developers, Florida legislators deserve the Nobel prize

By: - February 10, 2022

Dear Nobel Prize judges, Howdy! I hope you’ll forgive me for writing to you, but I wanted to nominate somebody — or rather, a bunch of somebodies — for one of your historic prizes. I don’t know exactly how your process works and, frankly, the results are sometimes baffling. I mean, how does Bob Dylan […]


Does Florida’s most famous flower stand a ghost of a chance?

By: - February 3, 2022

Did you know Florida is full of ghost stories? You wouldn’t think a place this sunny would have so many shades, but it does. You can find ghosts all over, from the haunted Pensacola Lighthouse up in the Panhandle to the infamous “Robert the Doll” in Key West. Why, on a good day in Tallahassee, […]


Florida DEP’s handling of wetland permits has become a colossal ‘Charlie Foxtrot’

By: - January 27, 2022

Dear Gov. DeSantis, Hi there! I keep writing you these letters and you keep ignoring them, but I feel I need to be persistent — for your sake. You claim to care about Florida’s environment, but when you talk about it, all you ever say is some version of, “I am throwing a lot of […]


Bills would help consultants make a killing off of killing off Florida’s seagrass

By: - January 20, 2022

I have two kids, so believe me when I tell you that all parents are terrible liars. We constantly use what I call “feel-good lies” to make our kids feel better about the world we live in — even if our lying sometimes leads to bad results. “Santa Claus brought you those gifts,” we tell […]


Florida legislators get away with their Amendment 1 heist — for now

By: - January 13, 2022

The Florida Legislature convened Tuesday for its regular 60-day session, so I hope you boarded up your windows and got your family to a shelter. This is not a traditional storm but rather a time when, as Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell put it recently, “Tallahassee will be filled with more manure than a pasture […]


Decades later, EPA still working on cleanup of Florida’s “Mount Dioxin”

By: - January 6, 2022

Florida has lots of communities with a history that is — oh, what’s a good word? Let’s say “unusual.” Sweetwater, for instance, was founded by a troupe of Russian circus midgets whose bus broke down. Sanibel’s drive to incorporate as a city was led by a trio of retired CIA agents, one of whom became […]