Rewild the World

The following is copy/pasted from a Florida environmental activist who gave permission for this to be shared. The original post was accompanied by an aerial view of a sick, polluted waterway, its banks stripped of vegetation.

If you are somewhere other than Florida, there’s probably environmental degradation of a similar magnitude going on in your area. Wherever you live, there are various ways you can help make a difference — and it starts with awareness.

My best advice: Wherever you live, get to know your local waterways, forests, wetlands, mountains, whatever the nature is. Go out to the local natural areas with your kids. Connect with the eco activists in your region to find out about key issues and action steps. (Facebook is great for finding online hubs of eco activism in each region.) I don’t advise moving away from a place just because of whatever the local issues are. Stand strong and be a peaceful warrior for your place. There is no “away”; environmental issues ultimately affect us all.

REWILD THE RIVERS OF FLORIDA: When you take a natural, winding, snake-like river, filled with native aquatic plants along its edge, connected to immense swamps, and winding with beautiful oxbows… and you remove small waterfalls and turn it into a deep straight line…. do not wonder why it doesn’t filter and balance algae as it once did. When fertilized lawns and cement sea walls line up for miles along the river… do not wonder why it doesn’t support the former flourishing numbers of fish and bird populations that it once did. When you dig hundreds of non-flowing, cement-lined canals for large gas-powered power boats… do not wonder why toxic algal blooms expand at levels formerly impossible in these new sun-drenched ‘pits.’ When the very rain that falls contains methyl-mercury from coal-fired power plants and this washes to the ocean… do not wonder why fish bioaccumulate this toxin, higher and higher up the food chain until even single servings of certain fish are not safe to consume. When you spray glyphosate and other herbicides by the ton on aquatic ‘weeds’ in Lake Okeechobee, do not wonder why Red Tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico are fed by blue-green algae blooms that take the floating plants’ place. When you allow thousands of cattle to defecate right up to the Kissimmee River’s edge, in the floodplain… do not wonder why nitrogen levels skyrocket after summer floods. When you dredge and straighten a formerly shallow and winding river… do not wonder why mass sediment amounts cover and kill healthy seagrass beds during rain events… know why. When immense farms are allowed to spray all manner of ‘-cides,’ from herbicides to fungicides, from nematocides to pesticides… do not wonder why aquatic organisms die as they do from the run-off. After all ‘cide’ means death. Know why! The Caloosahatchee River knows very well why. Sit beside her and she will tell you.
NOTE: Check out websites such as the Center for Biological Diversity, Calusa Waterkeeper, Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Captains for Clean Water, and others. They surely have their faults, some big ones, but they also have some answers, some great ones.