30 Under 30 Highlight: Daniel Andrews of Captains for Clean Water

Ensuring Florida’s environment thrives for future generations to enjoy and benefit from is a responsibility Daniel Andrews never thought he’d have to uphold while growing up on the Gulf Coast of the Sunshine State.  

As a Floridian, Mr. Andrews has spent generous amounts of time enjoying the outdoors. From fishing with friends to boating with family, there’s always something fun to do at the beach or off the coast year-round in the Sunshine State. It’s these simple joys that bring the most happiness to Floridians like Mr. Andrews. His appreciation for the environmental attributes and ecological wonders of Florida’s natural landscapes, waterways and shorelines harkens back to his early childhood days—a time in his life when he would find himself exploring all there is to do in a state surrounded and enriched by one of the world’s greatest and most precious resources: water.

Water is the key ingredient to Florida’s success.

The economic miracle that is Florida, with its vast economic hubs, industries and tourist destinations, would not be possible if not for the life-altering and enhancing benefits of clean water, and the pivotal role it plays in the maintenance and enrichment of Florida’s $1 trillion+ economy. 

Source: Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater

Source: Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater

As a Charter Captain in the Gulf Coast, Mr. Daniels knows well the vital role water plays to Florida’s economic, cultural and social well-being. That’s why when he first noticed degradation occurring within the lands, waterways and beaches he had long frequented as a child, teen,  and now adult — employed in an industry whose sole survival and success depends on clean, habitable water — he decided to take action. Through the mobilization of like-minded individuals and concerned citizens, Mr. Andrews, along with other captains from Florida’s Gulf Coast  shorelines and communities, was able to establish Captains for Clean Water—a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that advocates for the elimination of harmful, large-scale discharges from Lake Okeechobee, and champions the restoration of natural flow and proper working order in the Everglades.

The environmental degradation Mr. Andrews aimed to address through his advocacy work had all occurred due to manmade errors and activities in year’s past and present. From antiquated, strained infrastructure to man-caused pollution from sugar cane farms and development projects, the Everglades—an environmental wonder that has long acted as the beating heart and soul of Florida’s vital water systems—is in a state of diminishment. Thankfully, due to advocacy efforts and changes in political leadership, plans to rectify past mistakes and invest in future restoration and resiliency efforts have recently been advanced. 

Source: National Park Service

Source: National Park Service

Captains for Clean Water strongly supports the demolition of dams that have acted as barriers to natural water flow, and the nearly 68+ projects that have been outlined in Everglades restoration plans for the benefit of Florida’s water systems and natural environments, and the full and completely restoration of the Everglades—a vital piece of water, land and biodiversity in Florida’s central and southern regions.  

And yet, though significant progress has been made in ways of funding sources and commitments from political leaders, much work remains left to be done. 

That’s why Captains for Clean Water is focused on strengthening ties and connections with key  community and political figures from throughout the Sunshine State, and have stated a commitment to science and education in order for Floridians to better understand the implications and consequences that come from inaction and political cowardice. 

Mr. Andrews has been encouraged by the support he has received from community and political leaders in year’s past. He’s appreciative of the connections he has made with key figures of the DeSantis Administration, and supports the ongoing efforts to reform and appoint new individuals to positions of leadership within the Water Management Districts of the Sunshine State. But not all needed change comes from Tallahassee. Thats why Mr. Andrews and his team adopt sustainable, smart practices to limit their carbon footprint and use of plastic, non-biodegradable materials. 

David Acosta