Saving the Ocean with Captain Planet

by Tim Hart | Jul 15, 2019 2:32:00 PM

5 Ways YOU Can Improve Water Quality in SWFL

Water quality in southwest Florida (SWFL) is a huge issue. Last year, red tide and blue-green algae taught us Floridians a lot about how important our water quality is. It’s important that as citizens of SWFL, we protect and improve our water quality. To learn how to do this, we brought in an expert.

Recently, I sat down with Garrett Stuart, an awesome guy who most people know as Captain Planet. Garrett is an algae scientist and the founder of The Eco Preservation Project, an educational nonprofit here in Florida dedicated to conserving our oceans for future generations. Originally from Kansas, Garrett visited a friend down in the Florida Keys, and he fell in love with the area immediately.

“I’ve always wanted to be a bird,” Garrett told me. “And when I was snorkeling out on the reef, I was a bird, flying up above this magical city. A lot of people don’t know that from Fort Lauderdale down to the Dry Tortugas is the third largest reef in the world. I just fell in love with it.”

Why You Need to Go Snorkeling at Vista Park Reef | Fort Lauderdale Stays

Garrett came on my radar last year when he did an impromptu video about the nutrient pollution problem that led to the red tide/blue-green algae. Watching Garrett’s video, it was clear this man was following his passion and doing what he was meant to do on this earth: protecting the planet and educating people. This was the guy I had to talk to about how to take care of our oceans.

What difference can I make?

This is a question we all ask ourselves when faced with a problem as big as the ocean. According to Garrett, there are a lot of things we all can be doing to help.

Lawn Care

“I don’t just mean nasty synthetic fertilizers that are slow release, but also the herbicides like Roundup. This is a nasty, cancer-causing chemical that causes quite a lot of damage. We need to get informed and educated about what’s happening on our lawn. As far as fertilizers go, either don’t do it or use organic or eco-friendly fertilizers … You can keep the grass green without the red tide. Or better yet, learn about eco-landscaping.”

Eat Local, Eat Organic

“Be careful not to choose between the two. You have to be mindful of stuff. For example, an avocado might be organic, but is it good for the planet? Of course not. It’s still causing deforestation down in Mexico as they tear down forests to plant avocado farms for hippies in Florida and California. You've got to eat local, as well. If you’re going to eat an avocado, eat a Florida avocado! There are farmers around here that don’t use GMOs.”

Mini Reefs

“This is one of my faves right here. Surely you guys have heard about this cool cat, David Wolfe. He’s a marine biologist and founder of the ocean habitat. Me and him are homies, tighter than Garth Brooks’ jeans. We've been working on a duck weed module together, so we're going to have a mini reef to offer for freshwater systems, as well. It’s called a mini reef, but it’s more like a mini mangrove. I believe it can clean something like 2,200 gallons of water a day, and they’re home to hundreds of fish and crabs.”

Get Your Septic System Checked

“Short, sweet, and simple. It saddens me because even if you buy a $5 million house in this state, it’s just suggested that you get your septic checked. It’s not even a law. We have to keep in mind that our septic systems run at the same levels as our water tables do. People don’t realize that in Martin County, where I live, the water tables come up to 12 inches beneath your feet in the rainy season. Think about what can be dripping down into our water from your yard. Septics are a big deal. You don’t know it’s leaking unless you check it.”

Education and Communication

“I think that’s really key. People need to start educating each other and helping each other learn. I don’t mean how many Facebook videos you share. I mean communication in a real form. If you make a Facebook post, most likely nobody’s even going to read it. But every time I go to a convenience store and they ask, ‘Would you like a plastic bag?’ I say, ‘No, I'm not a fan of those turtle killers. Did you know by the year 2050, our oceans are predicted to have more plastic in them than fish?’ They look at me, shocked. You have to talk to thy neighbor. It’s all about communication.”

We got a lot of great wisdom from Garrett, including some awesome stories we can’t fit here. I highly recommend checking out the full interview with Captain Planet on “The HartBeat Show” podcast or on my page “Tim Hart – Loan Officer” on Facebook! There’s a story he shares about hugging a big biker guy in a 7-Eleven that will bring a tear — or several — to your eye.


Born and raised in Southwest Florida, I have been in the Mortgage business since 2001 I'm a grizzly, battle tested mortgage veteran. I am also the Host of Rates & Reels, which is the most popular fishing show in Southwest Florida, hosted by a guy named Tim. In my spare time I love spending time with my family, coaching baseball, and anything else my kids or wife want me to do. I would be happy to help you or someone you know with any of your Mortgage needs.

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