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

A whale of a tale gets a happy ending (for now)

By: - October 8, 2020

The world’s most endangered whales got some good news last week. It’s quite a tale. Before he came down with coronavirus due to consistently ignoring what scientists told him, President Donald J. Trump visited Florida last month to announce he was ordering a halt to any plans for offshore drilling near our Atlantic coast. Of […]

COMMENTARY

Phosphate waste threatens bay again, so what if we bottled it?

By: - October 1, 2020

Seventeen years ago, when I was a reporter for what was then known as the St. Petersburg Times, I drove across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to tour a 700-acre industrial site near Port Manatee. My destination was an old fertilizer plant that the state’s top environmental regulator, during our tour, called “one of the biggest […]

COMMENTARY
algae bloom

This column stinks — and so does the way FL handles its poop

By: - September 24, 2020

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a big event at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, which is the only government facility in the nation where mermaids work as state employees. The governor wasn’t there to cavort with the ladies with prosthetic tails, though. He was there to pose for pictures with a giant-sized check, which […]

COMMENTARY

Handing federal wetlands permitting to FL DEP is an idea that’s all wet

By: - September 17, 2020

Florida is best known for its gorgeous beaches, but we also have a lot of wetlands. Bogs, swamps, marshes, you name it, we’ve got ’em — more than any other state besides Alaska. Some are famous — everyone’s heard of the Everglades — but most are just anonymous soggy spots that help recharge our underground […]

Craig Pittman: Florida panthers imperiled by presidential pen

By: - September 10, 2020

Nearly 40 years ago, Florida leaders asked the state’s schoolchildren to vote on naming Florida’s official state animal. Some classes treated it like an actual election, with different kids selected to speak for the various candidates — one kid spoke for the manatees, another for the alligator, a third for the Florida Key deer, and […]

COMMENTARY

Nature is finding ways to adapt to how we’ve changed the climate. What are we doing to adapt to it?

By: - September 3, 2020

The speakers at last week’s Republican National Convention used a lot of words — nearly 78,000 of them, according to a report in Forbes. Some words we heard over and over: “socialism,” “radical,” “law and order.” Two rather important ones, though, were noticeable by their absence: “climate change.” You would think seeing meek little Tropical […]

COMMENTARY

Why Florida’s DEP stands for Delayed Environmental Protection

By: - August 27, 2020

Do you ever break the law? I do, all the time. I constantly drive faster than the speed limit. Partly it’s because I am always running late, and partly it’s because that’s how my dad taught me to drive. A lead foot was in my DNA. Imagine, though, if every time the cops pulled me […]

COMMENTARY

Musings on Florida and the politics of pythons

By: - August 20, 2020

A year ago, I tagged along with a couple of professional python hunters searching the Everglades for the big snakes. We spent six hours slowly cruising up and down a levee road, with super-bright lamps atop their car turning the night into day, in hopes of catching sight of one of the slithering invaders. We […]

COMMENTARY

On FL’s Rainbow River, something nearly miraculous happened: A developer listened to reason

By: - August 13, 2020

One of the most delightful ways to spend a summer day in Florida is to ride an inner tube down a spring-fed river. I’ve probably tubed down Marion County’s Rainbow River half a dozen times. Except for one time when I got turned around backward and nearly ran over a family of frolicking otters, that […]

COMMENTARY

Why is the governor leaving important environmental posts unfilled?

By: - August 6, 2020

One of the trickiest jobs a governor has is picking the right people to run various state agencies. Ideally, he or she must find people who have a good background in that field who are willing to put in the hours and who will do the kind of job that will serve the public. A […]

COMMENTARY

FL’s homely gopher tortoises: ‘It’s kind of questionable how long they can persist,’ biologist says

By: - July 30, 2020

Gopher tortoises are homely creatures. They have a face that only another gopher could love. I saw one once that gave me the most baleful glare, like an old man about to launch into a rant about kids these days. Then he peed all over the equipment that a photographer had set up to capture […]

COMMENTARY

Is a big phosphate company using legal tactics to scare FL environmentalists?

By: - July 23, 2020

I want to be clear about one thing, right up front. This is all perfectly legal. In an area of Florida where water use has been sharply restricted for 28 years, state officials have been allowing the nation’s largest phosphate company to pump millions of gallons of water out of the ground every day., One […]