Greetings Southwest Florida. I am the main organizer from the West Coast Chapter when it comes to citizens for clean water.
We have sure seen some drastic changes to our waterways from the Lake Okeechobee runoff in the past few months as the obvious is now right in front of our faces. No matter how you stand or what you do for a living, this ecological disaster that is nothing short of the BP oil spill catastrophe has taken a toll on you and all of us here in Southwest Florida. Whether it's brown-black color water on our precious Gulf front, the lime green algae blooms in canals throughout our area, the toxic slew that is being pushed through our rivers, or the dead sea life or lack of it that has taken its clear-cutting course on our ways of life as Floridians, the oasis of pristine Florida had now distanced itself from "the Sunshine State" to the "contaminated waterways state," with special thanks to the sugar industry as the main source upon this ecological disaster.
Rather than use aimless blame, we have decided to take action toward this act of eco terror. Several rallies have been planned locally by a group called "Southwest Florida Citizens for Clean Water" to demand and end profit over people and purpose upon our eco system.
Though united efforts we see it as our time to take the power back. We as Southwest Floridian citizens for clean water have teamed up with our East Coast allies whom are suffering the same fate that we are locally. We have planned a mass demonstration in Clewiston on Sept. 1, to demand an end to this act of eco terror.
To better organize for our trek for truth, our group will be joining forces with a Sanibel group to "Save Our Bay" this Saturday, Aug. 24, at 8 a.m. People are encouraged to participate by gathering on the first spoil island from Sanibel near the mid-span bridge on both sides of the road. Bring signage or anything you wish to use to convey a message to those that seem to have such a hard time hearing us.
This is our reality Southwest Florida. Fight for it or fold.
TO GO BOX
What: Sugar Land Rally
When: Aug. 24/ Sept. 1
Where: Sanibel Causeway island/ Clewiston
The death door is now clear as our waterways that tourism depends on is not so much clear. The Army Corp of Engineers and all state officials warn that the water may not being clear of pollutants until at least March. That is not fact, however just speculation. Our season is at stake without question, and so is the very fact of of our livelihoods as island-based folks for time to come. Hardships are upon us without delay.
Without a doubt, tourism will drop off tremendously as a result of our appearance and water that has been killed off entirely and all that resides in it. The fishing industry alone is suffering now. The eateries are empty. We do not know if it's safe to swim. How do you expect a tourist to feel safe eating fresh local fish dinners?
You see, it's the perception battle once again that we never win as a whole. People have caught the wind, and they've been riding it. Every tourist tells another of the horrific conditions in our area, which simply means word of mouth is our worst enemy on a negative front. The news is getting out. Think of it as "Jaws" the film. The sheriff knew of the real time problem as the government did its best to sweep the problem under the rug to ensure a productive image with profits at large and at stake. However, it is not their faults. The sugar industry is who is at fault. When promising to build reservoirs to contain the water overflow, they simply have not met that end of the deal. Money goes every which way, yet when the money is in the hand of the problem solver, sometimes greed gets in the way of clear thought and the sake of clear water. As a result of the ignorance shown by the sugar industry, we are left with nothing but one choice. To rise up against them. Ordinary people's drive for what is right versus what is wrong is strong in the sense that power is only controlled by what is the power. As now the people will own that power.
The eminent emergency is at our door steps, and it takes all of you to get involved for what is right. I highly encourage all of Southwest Florida to participate in these rallies for who we are. Be a part of eco-friendly folks who will do anything to protect it. Our time is now. Our mission is clear. Our reasons are sound. And, our voices will be heard as one. Do your part to get involved in your own lifelines. Stand up for our Eco system and to be the automatic solution to our shared horror story that is not going to end soon.
--John G. Heim is an arts activist and long-time Beach resident. To learn more, go to m.facebook.com/events/550999768280438 ref=2&ref=bookmark&__user=1190907379, call Heim at (407) 460-6452 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org