By Phil Colpas
In Wasteland, a new Paramount documentary series, host Adam Yamaguchi reports on the shocking amount that unchecked overpopulation and overdevelopment – and the unfortunate byproducts of such – have to do with our increasing red tide problem in Florida.
Red tide is a toxic algae bloom that increasingly plagues tropical coastal communities. It kills fish by the thousands. It burns your throat and lungs. The red tide is actually a saltwater bloom, while blue-green algae blooms in freshwater areas, such as Lake Okeechobee. The proliferation of both appears to be directly tied to the rapidly growing number of septic systems, most in coastal areas not ideal for such systems.
According to the documentary, climate change is also a factor. For proper septic treatment, there needs to be a minimum of 2 feet of aerobic dry soil between the bottom of the drain field and the top of the seasonally high groundwater table, and every year the groundwater levels are getting higher and higher.
Runoff, fertilizers, sewage, wastewater – all of these things fuel the red tide. This is a worldwide problem, especially in popular coastal areas.
And now, for a complete 180…
Sarasota named best place to retire in the U.S.
According to the U.S. News & World Report’s just-released “Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022-2023,” Sarasota ranks first in best places to retire and ninth in best places to live in the country.
U.S. News analyzed the 150 most populous metro areas to find the best places to live. To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market and a high quality of life.
According to the report, Sarasota has its own unique charm distinct from similar coastal cities in Florida, with vibrant arts, a beachy atmosphere and a burgeoning food scene.
“This metro area of just over 800,000 people has a renowned opera house, a number of rooftop bars and the popular beach of Siesta Key,” reads the report. “What makes the region special is its duality – downtown Sarasota boasts resorts and fine dining, but strolling Siesta Key Village or St. Armands Circle offers a more intimate, seaside ambience.”
Historically, Sarasota was seen as a resort for retirees, but that viewpoint is slowly changing as the city begins to attract young professionals. With a median age of about 53, Sarasota still has a large retiree population. However, as more people look to places for quality of life as well as job opportunities, Sarasota is becoming increasingly popular.
The downside is cost of living. Sarasota’s popularity means rising home prices, and many people who want to live here are priced out. It is a very expensive metro area for its size. Compared to nearby metro areas like St. Petersburg and Tampa, for example, Sarasota’s apartment rental prices are a bit higher – and much higher than the national average.