The St Lucie and the Caloosahatechee estuaries are part of the Everglades as was the Everglades Agricultural Area….
Gail M. Hollender, begins her book, “Raising Cane in the ‘Glades, The Global Sugar Trade and the Transformation of Florida,” by stating in Chapter 1:
“…at a point in time usually unspecified, the Everglades made the transition from “worthless swamp” to “cherished wetland.”
In the 1970s there was a “cultural shift” regarding the importance of “environmental protection.” America recognized the destruction it has promoted in building the country, especially in terms of agriculture and development.
“Cultural shifts” are powerful, and drive the evolution of our world. I believe the “Everglades shift” will eventually drive the restoration of the Everglades as well as the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. It is what the people want…often the broad knowledge of history becomes an enemy to itself. So is it with sugar and the Everglades Agricultural Area. Just look at the photos above.
Nonetheless, sometime the “powers that be,” and their most important stake holders prefer to concentrate on why history should remain as it is, and has been, even if destructive, focusing on “constraints” rather than “possibilities” of the system.
This happened this past Thursday.
I was unable to attend the South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) Water Resources Advisory Commission, (WRAC), (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xweb%20about%20us/wrac) because I had a board commitment to attend FAU/Harbor Branch’s Indian River Lagoon Symposium.
I was somewhat taken aback when I returned from a long day at the symposium, looked at my computer, and saw an email from the SFWMD addressed to me, and all members of the WRAC entitled:
“System Constraints Follow-up Details – January and February WRAC”–“…a follow-up to your request to provide specific details associated with the constraints to moving water south through the system– with a professionally created 19 slide power point presentation.
Let me explain..
At the January WRAC meeting, (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xweb%20about%20us/gb%20application) I sat in as an alternate for Mr Joe Capra, and in the course of that meeting, a few members of the agriculture industry, as well as a couple of others who often support the agriculture industry, I will not state names but they are important, big players. I like and respect these people, but still— I must call them on this.
They asked the SFWMD to create a presentation showing the “constraints” for sending water south so that people would understand (why it can’t be done…) In other words, why those people along the estuaries should “shut-up.” Why we should preserve a destructive history.
I got my nerve up saying: “Where I come from, we don’t want to talk about constraints; we want to talk about possibilities; we want to talk about change….” implying the District should “show that too.”
Upon seeing the email, I realized the SFWMD did not honor my request, but did show the “constraints” asked to be shown by the agriculture industry. Oh well…usually when government suppresses people, their motivation actually increases.
So is it with me, and I imagine it is so with you…
Dear, SFWMD district, please remember: your core mission is to “manage and protect the water resources of the region by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems, and water supply.” I don’t see anywhere in here where it says we must keep things the same and focus on constraints.
Let’s build a new future! Thank you!
“It is time we stopped viewing our environment through prisms of profit, politics, geography, or local and personal pride. It is time for us to work together—to accept the truth about our problems in south Florida, and to set about solving them. It is time for us to do all of these things—because you know as well as I that the alternative will be disastrous to our economy as well as to our environment.”
——Florida Gov. Rubin Askew, (served 1971-1979) Rubin included, by law, the mission of Florida’s water districts to envelop “environmental protection.”