If there is a silver lining to 2020 for the Everglades and the Everglades Trust – some humor and hope – it is the public’s reaction to Florida’s sugar industry.
Today, millions of Floridians are armed with science and facts on what, who and why America’s Everglades and three nationally-important coastal estuaries are being destroyed.
More importantly, they know how to solve these problems and understand what is at stake if we do not. This is a far cry from where we started.
One of the Trust’s favorite ways to gauge the public’s sentiment is to read the comments on social media posts sponsored by Florida Crystals and US Sugar. When the public's ire gets hot, these corporations start pumping out their public relations “we’re just farmers” malarky.
When you can’t take the heat, you get out of the kitchen. Unless you’re Big Sugar – then you hire actors and Madison Avenue copywriters and jump into the kitchen.
Beaming into millions of homes in South Florida come nonstop ads of young children gathered round their mothers, excited to bake and eat holiday cookies and pies.
Clearly, they are not using the airwaves to sell sugar – they have that locked up through the federal sugar subsidy program. No, these work to dull the senses of Floridians so maybe, just maybe, they will forget all that nasty business about toxic algae, red tide, dead animals and sea life, droughts, fires, water restrictions and frightening science reports.
The kicker is that not much is required of the sugar barons for us to address and solve these growing problems and dire circumstances.
Honest to goodness FACT!
For the past 80+ days, both coasts of Florida have been pounded with polluted water from the lake. The rains have come, the lake is full. The water cannot flow south - it is filled with sugar's runoff. So, the discharges and carnage begins, as it has for the fourth time in five years.
Everglades restoration will halt polluted discharges to both coasts of Florida, getting that water sent south past the monolithic sugarcane crop that spans 800-square miles south of Lake Okeechobee, through treatment marshes and down to Florida Bay.
But with each passing year of toxic discharges and each round of battles for water that belongs to South Florida, comes an increasingly engaged and angry electorate. We love them – each and every one of them.
So, for the 2020 holiday season, these are the millions of people for whom we are grateful. Together, we keep moving the ball down the field, against all odds, and only because of the public.
As always, we ask you to stick with us!
P.S. If you want to leave your own comment for Florida Crystals, or if you just need a good chuckle, we recommend you head over to this tweet and read the comments in their entirety. It's been a while since we laughed so hard...
*Update: Florida Crystals has since deleted their tweet.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
We called and you answered. Over 500 emails were sent by YOU to the Army Corps of Engineers, urging them to make the new LOSOM rules fair for all water users in Florida. Thank you for standing up against Lake O discharges and making your voice heard.
For the fourth time in five years, our coastal estuaries are receiving harmful releases of Lake O water. 80 straight days and counting. Images of polluted discharges infiltrating San Carlos Bay near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee. Not natural, not necessary. Restore the flow of water south to be stored, cleaned, and sent to the Everglades where it is needed!
Must Watch. Captain Chris Wittman gives the most current and accurate update on the punishing Lake O discharges to both coasts. US Sugar and Florida Crystals should be ashamed and publicly shamed for causing this.
What happens when Orvis, the Everglades Foundation and Captains for Clean Water discuss Everglades restoration? Tune in and find out!
Keep your eyes on this one, folks. This is US Sugar getting the taxpayers to pay for their water supply (they are growing sugarcane north of Lake O today) under the guise of stopping the toxic and polluted discharges to both coasts of Florida. Won’t make a dent in the discharges or getting clean water to the Everglades, but some politicians will be making their donors happy.
Water is the most important resource in Florida. It literally forms the backbone of its ecology and economy. Come along as we follow the path water takes down the state, sustaining the Florida Everglades, and the people and critters who call South Florida home.