What it means to be green

June 24, 2016 -- The Grand Floridian Resort is, surprisingly, a member of Florida's Green Lodging Program, in spite of the fact that the resort has created an environmental no-no on its property: fake beach on the lagoon that I blogged about on June 16.

A Florida alligator.  The red-brown stain in this water is from natural tannins in native vegetation.

According to the Green Lodging Program's web site, "The Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary initiative of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that designates and recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources. The program’s environmental guidelines allow the hospitality industry to evaluate its operations, set goals and take specific actions to continuously improve environmental performance."

I wrote to the Florida DEP's ombudsman office to suggest that one of the program's environmental guidelines should be that lagoons on hotel properties should be surrounded by native vegetation, and should not have "beaches" because of the obvious threat to alligators and humans.  

When an alligator attacks a human, nearby alligators are killed.  Alligators that appear to have lost their fear of humans are also killed.  Alligators lose their fear of humans when they are fed by humans.  It is best to encourage humans to keep their distance from alligators, but a beach sure does not do that.

The Florida DEP wrote me a letter, which I received in yesterday's snail mail, stating that they will pass along my recommendation to their Green Lodging Program.

You, too, can write to the Florida DEP Ombudsman's office at public.services@dep.state.fl.us .

Perhaps we should also point out to the Florida DEP that employees of the Grand Floridian Resort had reportedly complained to their management that guests in the resort's pricey bungalows had been feeding alligators that swam up to the bungalow porches (See news article in the Daily Mail.) According to reporters, "Disney employees are now saying that resort officials ignored their complaints about alligators becoming a nuisance."

If Disney's Grand Floridian Resort were truly green, its managers would caution guests that feeding alligators is illegal, and they'd listen to employees who report guests feeding alligators.  They'd not only listen, but they'd take action -- to protect the alligators, the guests, and the employees.

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