Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Putting the "Mental" in Environmental

I can't take all of the credit, but my goal in returning to my native state was to help save the Everglades and I did it! As of last week, the United Nations removed the Everglades National Park from the list of Endangered World Heritage sites! How exciting is that? The Everglades and the National Park are no longer endangered! (If this gets boring, there's lots of sarcasm at the end! And a picture of a bunny which usually makes people feel happy!)

"The World Heritage List includes 851 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. These include 660 cultural, 166 natural and 25 mixed properties in 141 States Parties. As of October 2006, 184 States Parties have ratified the World Heritage Convention."

The Everglades National Park was deemed worthy of this list and joined hundreds of other global landmarks in 1979 and was designated "endangered" in 1993 due to urban sprawl, agricultural pollution and rising sea levels. In the spring of 2000, Congress approved a $20 billion dollar, 40 year Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP) that would see the feds footing half the bill and the state paying the rest. The state projects and funding was well supported by the governor at the time, but federal money has trickled in over the last 7 years and has come no where near splitting the costs. The world's largest wetland restoration project has suffered for it. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) was a strong supporter of the project as were most Florida politicians on both sides of the aisle, but sadly the White House neglected commitments and left the project to languish, causing ballooning budgets, stalled projects and increased threats to the 8000 square mile Everglades ecosystem.

As you have read here -

  • the Florida Panther is once again close to extinction

  • lakes are at record lows

  • arsenic-laden mud is being removed by the ton from the bottom of Lake O and placed ???

  • severe algae blooms in the gulf, caused by nutrient overloaded runoff from ag areas threaten the sea beds and the coastal communities

  • estuarine nurseries still barely cling to life

  • and aquifers are not only near empty but are being intruded upon by salt water inflows.
So it was with absolute glee (If you here a siren in your head, then your sarcasm alarm is working) that environmentalists from around the state applauded the UN's decision to drop the Everglades "endangered" status a few weeks ago based on progress with the restoration project and overall lessening of environmental damage.

See - I did it. In 7 months I have helped turn around the greatest destruction of a wetland ecosystem in the world.

I had a little help from the Bush Administration and Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary Todd Willens who recommended to the UN that the "endangered" label was a distraction to sites that were in greater peril. I mean it hasn't rained on the Pyramids in Egypt in months! The Serengeti has more elephants than poachers can shoot and right now there are dozens of people peeing in the streets of the World Heritage site and ancient city of Nessebar and it must be stopped!

Never mind several dozen species of invasive plants that are crowding out the native sawgrass, never mind the urban sprawl that sucks up billions and billions of gallons of water a day to water our invasive plant filled lawns! The "endangered" status is an "embarrassment" to the White House and the best way to eliminate it is to eliminate the word "endangered!"

It's as easy as that. aaaaaaand I'm caaaaalm again.

When told about the upgraded status of the Everglades National Park, Park Superintendent Dan Kimball said "What...WHAT?"

The Park Service and several scientists recommended the Everglades had a long way to go and should remain on the list. And it does have a long way to go. So no applause for my efforts just yet.

ACTION STEP? Provide you suggestions in a form of a comment.

And Happy Birthday Jacob - the big 10.
Keep on Peddlin'


  1. It's 4:22 AM and I have spent the last 45 min catching up on your blog. Thanks to the impending arrival of "RickyBobby", I could not sleep. No better time to catch up on 2 months of Everglades Adventures. Reading all of this and feeling guilty about the number of diapers I am sure to use. CLoth diapers are just not an option. Pete, you have changed one poopy diaper (Sept '06), where would all the poop go if I used cloth? Would I be wasting MORE water using cloth?? Hard to believe that in so many years Pampers has not come up with an environmentally friendly, biodegradeable diaper. Now that is an ACTION STEP... Anyway, glad to be back in the loop. I will make every effort to flush less :)


  2. I'm sure your 10 year old nephew appreciates the posted photo of him on a pink tricycle from when he was 2!!!

  3. Nice photo of Jacob on a pink tricycle! Hold on to that photo for another 3 years and it might make the Bar Mitzvah video diary.
    Keep plugging away at that environment thing, Pete.

  4. Flush when you need to. Or use a stick to knock the "cone" down (for all the readers in Montana).

  5. hooray environment. Sorry you got taken off the endangered list. I try to stay home alot and communciate on the computer that's environmentally friendly right?

  6. Here I am searching around the internet (like I'm wont to do) and I find this very entertaining blog about Florida environmental issues. I've been looking for ways to get involved so I thought I'd spend a little time visiting your site. Lo and behold...what do I are the guy that I randomly introduced myself to at the eye doctor's office b/c you looked like an old friend. Whoa...too weird.
    Anyway, I think your blog is great and hope to take an everglades tour sometime (maybe when it's not 5000 degrees). If you have any suggestions for some volunteer activities that I can get involved in I'd be interested to hear them.



    ps - Since you moderate your comments I'm counting on this not seeing the light of day...

  7. daylight - I typically only reject comments from CyberRunt as well as andWayne. I even let right wing anti-environmental, xenophobic comments get through!