To the editor:
Take a walk down our precious coastline and look into our sea. What you see is our sea glaring back at us with discomfort while blaring: " look at what you have done to me." Take a paddle through our Back Bay and know that our journey has ended with dead estuaries, with brown-black, tainted, contaminated water that was once the lifelines that used to be out number one resource based on our famous fishing history.
However now, the fish have left our community due to the greed at hand responsible from the plans of the sugar industry. Ya see, it all must make more sense to kill off billions in tourism along the islands of Southwest Florida rather than let an aging, neglected levee break free and kill off hundreds of thousands of people who live in the surrounding area of Lake Ochachobee.
However, is that the real problem? Did the sugar industry promise to create reservoirs years ago to contain overflow? Yes! Did they do it? No! Has the Army Corp of Engineers promised to work on needed repairs to a levee that was built in the 1940s? Yes! Have they touched the dike to secure it better since it was built? No! Has the government allowed for agriculture industries to use the lake as a dumping ground of mass pollutants for over decades of time? Yes! We must end this disaster.
We are educated island folk with a keen sense of our incredible Eco system. However, for some reason, we continue to let these eco-terrorists destroy our granted and gifted ways of living our ways of life. By respecting our fellow sea life forms, we protect our number one local resource, tourism.
When will we acknowledge that without clean beaches, plentiful fishing, marine life attractions, and prestigious waterways that we will simply die as an island town. We are based on the quality of our waters, and this is why it attracts so many visitors here? When will stand up and demand an end to profit over people's livelihoods, not to mention the murder of our sea life counterparts for the sake of making loads of cash?
When? When will will wake up and smell the contamination that is in fact sending all walks of life away from our area to seek somewhere else that is advertised as beauty and happens to be just that? Now, when in fact our truth is it has become the slums of the toxic slime that they encounter when visiting Fort Myers Beach as our only "attraction." People are talking of never coming back here a lot lately, as a result of the runoff disaster. And why should we blame them, when the blame goes directly to the powers that be who are determined to see to it that we, as a community, are too dumbed down to ever care or even notice the trickled down effect that is waging war upon our place called "home."
They have been banking on our ignorance for years and years. Yet now we must educate ourselves and unite to save our beach town from eco-terrorists whom could care less about one bit of eco-tourism. The same eco tourism that supports our families, community, and all the reasons that we choose to reside here on this island as its true reasoning upon its true identity. We must protect it, and it starts with raising awareness by protesting against what is making it into our own personal ignorant sideshow that seems to have no remedy.
Remember, if we choose to do nothing then we too are a part of the problem. I encourage all to take a walk on our coastline and let the sea speak to you, for you will hear the voice of a pleading for protection that begins with people just like you and me. Our water is pleading for our help and to do what is right for our water. If you feel as if this is not a major problem or concern, then I urge you to take notice of how the people have rallied against this eco-terrorism is St. Lucie. This is not anything to ignore, especially when they now admit they have no idea of when our waters will ever be clear again. You cannot sweep first impressions under the rug, and our rug has now officially been pulled from underneath of our economy. Tourism as a whole here is at stake. Without it, we all may have to move away just to survive for ourselves and our families.
We are left with two choices: let them continue to ruin our only chance to survive here on Fort Myers Beach, or resist against hypocrisy, and fight for our lives for our number one resource which is in fact tourism through our natural ecology. Take a stand now so we as humans and all marine life can again swim safely soon enough. Without you there is no me!
John. G. Heim.
Local art-activist for 27 years
Fort Myers Beach