“When the well is dry, they will know the worth of water,” Ben Franklin warned in 1757.

At its core, restoration is simple.

When it comes to Everglades restoration, we know the details can seem complicated – made even more so by misinformation pushed out by the Boys of Sugar and their massive team of consultants, lobbyists, and phony online “news outlets."

But at its core, restoration is simple. Return to what Mother Nature gave us to the best of our ability: a natural and plentiful flow south from Lake Okeechobee into the River of Grass and down to Florida Bay, the headwaters of the Florida Keys. Now Or Neverglades.

Grass is always greener (especially when it’s alive).

Call us nerds if you must but discovering more about seagrass and why we jump up and down about losing them will make you a better Floridian. Really Everglades Trust, a better Floridian? Yes, really. Our seagrass beds are crucial for a prosperous Florida – and that translates to all 21 million of us.

Find about more in this week’s Review about escalating seagrass loss statewide, including record numbers of manatee deaths caused by the continued loss of their winter food source. Do not get depressed, get adamant. You can do it!

Gone fishing.

It's tough to read about the state of affairs of our waterways and Everglades, and the debauchery of the sugar industry in Florida contributing to their demise, we know. For our own sanity, we go out of our way to find images and stories that inspire us AND things that make us LOL. We share an office favorite below. 

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When the human brain meets up with greed. Also the Florida Legislature is cranking up. Here’s what to watch.

Whatever you do, please look up!

The brain is an imperfect organ, but it’s all we’ve got to understand the world around us. You can imagine, then, the challenge you face when you present someone with information about something they've never seen before that contradicts their current beliefs. They’re likely to discount or disbelieve it. Our brains can trick us into maintaining our past views or predictions at the cost of recognizing new information.

It gets even harder when there’s a full-court press by special interests involved. So, what happens when our decision makers’ inability to take in new information meets up with the formidable force of greed? Well, you get the destruction of America’s Everglades and natural resources all around you.

Refresher: Definition of Greed

Greed (or avarice) is an uncontrolled longing for increase in the acquisition or use of material gain (be it food, money, land, or animate/inanimate possessions); or social value, such as status, or power. Greed has been identified as undesirable throughout known human history because it creates behavior-conflict between personal and social goals.

Thankfully, it is one of the deadly sins that doesn’t ensnare most of us. Dante’s Inferno likely provides a glimpse of what lies in store for the greediest we deal with. Let’s just say we would not trade places with any of them.

Understand Why Willie Robbed Banks

Are all politicians crooks? Oh, there are some real stinkers, for sure, but most politicians are far from corrupt. Our political system has become a bastion for greed to rule the day, cleverly disguised as a fair process. Politicians throughout Florida are surrounded by greed (polluters and thieves of the public’s resources) because, obviously, greed gravitates to what makes them more money or power or both.

The famous criminal Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks. His response was simple: Because that’s where the money is.

Throw in campaign contributions and an army of “friendly” lobbyists, and the unsuspecting don’t stand much of a chance – greed is very cunning. We cannot excuse this outcome, but it helps to understand the inexplicable. That’s why elected officials need us, all of us. Learn more, speak up more, find a way to get through to them. That’s our collective charge. By the way, we never said this would be easy ;)

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Still searching for a new Resolution that doesn't cost money or involve losing a few pounds? We've got you covered!

A challenge for the New Year - 2022

Nothing is more vital to life and Florida’s economy than WATER. For too many decades, we have not treated water and our waterways with an eye for an abundant future.

A revolution of thinking must occur in our state, not with pitchforks, but with every lawmaker concerned about our water and our waterways. We're going to do our part, of course, and we'll show you how you can, too, with our simple New Year's Resolution for the Everglades and Florida's Waterways below.

A big year for the Everglades and the public - 2021

What a year! Projects came online and Lake Okeechobee is getting a brand new operations manual. For 20 years, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan languished through fits and starts. Despite all our efforts, and becoming the lhe law of the land in 2000, the state and federal partnership had not completed one CEPR project. That changed in 2021 with a splendid upward trajectory of critical action in expedited fashion.

An Everglades superhero

It's tough to read about the state of affairs for our waterways and Everglades, and the debauchery of the sugar industry in Florida contributing to their demise, we know. For our own sanity, we go out of our way to find images and stories that inspire us AND things that make us LOL. We share an office favorite below. This one is extra special. Enjoy.

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Does Florida's right hand know what its left hand is doing?

Left hand, please meet right hand.

This year’s record manatee die-off in Florida has spurred officials to take the drastic step of feeding the beloved animals to save them from starvation. Manatees rely mainly on seagrass beds to sustain them throughout the winter, many of which have been smothered by pollutants. Fertilizer runoff, discharged wastewater, and climate change have caused thick algae blooms that block out the sunlight seagrass needs to survive. 

Simultaneously, the Florida Legislature is contemplating allowing developers to destroy seagrass beds where they want to build in exchange for making other environmental improvements somewhere else. Not only do manatee rely on these beds, seagrass is the source of life in our oceans and waterways. There cannot be any justification for going forward with this legislation.

No shame in Big Sugar's game.

Happening Now: As the sugar barons continue to fight attempts to force them to modernize, the heinous and archaic practice of preharvest burns continues. Every single year, 400,000 acres of sugarcane in the Everglades, along with their toxins, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are lit on fire because it's cheaper and easier than mechanical harvesting. The human and environmental toll it takes is enormous. Kudos to Senator Gary Farmer and Rep. Anna Eskamani for taking on the issue, again.

And, back to inspiration.

It's tough to read about the state of affairs for our waterways and Everglades, and the debauchery of the sugar industry in Florida contributing to their demise, we know. For our own sanity, we go out of our way to find images and stories that inspire us AND things that make us LOL. We share an office favorite below. Enjoy.

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Saving the Everglades is good for the soul. You meet great Floridians along the way.

What makes a great Floridian?

A few questions come to mind when we ponder what constitutes a great Floridian. Should they have been born in Florida? Does the number of generations of their family in Florida score them extra points? Should they be a household name?

Of course, a person can be any or all the above to qualify. But the real answer to all three is simply: No.

We are all too often bombarded with business leaders and politicians rattling off their third or fifth generation Floridian creds, as if sticking around in a state is inherently virtuous. The true measure cannot be time, but what you have done for Florida with your time.

Today, we share recent news stories that highlight two great Floridians. Neither were born here. It is likely many Floridians don’t know who they are. But unlike the sugar barons we know all too well, these two are leaving a wonderful mark on the place we call home.

Porter Goss

Yale. U.S. Army, 2nd Lt. CIA agent. First mayor of Sanibel. Congressman. CIA Director. Husband. Father. Father to Chauncey Goss (another great Floridian!). Grandfather. Conservationist. Organic farmer. Born in Connecticut. Porter Goss is a real deal, Florida superhero. One of our favorite journalists, Craig Pitman, does all of us a great service telling his version of the Porter Goss story in his latest article, How the CIA Took Over a Florida Island. *Craig is officially a great Floridian, falling into the category of "takes one to know one."

Elisabeth DeLuca

“Florida’s wild side and for those whose hearts palpitate with it are benefactors of a turn in destiny.” In the greatest turn of events, a landowner’s failed attempt at a new city – ironically slated to be named “Destiny” – that lies at the gateway to Yeehaw Junction, has become a great gift for all Floridians. Twenty-seven thousand acres of wildlands between Central and South Florida were given a second chance for conservation when Elisabeth DeLuca, widow of Subway founder and billionaire Fred DeLuca, recently and with little fanfare gifted that land to the University of Florida to be used solely for conservation.

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First, some good news. Then, some sobering reports. And, then, back to inspiration.

Progress Is Not Just a Report. 

In record numbers, the public roared, demanding fairness in a flawed water management system for Lake Okeechobee that had been designed by and for Big Sugar. Under the new operating rules that will take effect next year, the Army Corps will manage lake levels with 9 million Floridians, the Everglades, and our coastal estuaries as priorities.

Of course, managing the water in Lake O for fairness is just one piece of the puzzle - but it didn't cost the taxpayers a dime. Last week, a critical infrastructure project that was slated to be the first CERP project 20+ years ago, is up and running. With Governor DeSantis ensuring it, there is more to come.

Corrupting Our Politics and the Magnificent Everglades.

It is critical for folks to understand the big picture of Big Sugar. Only then can you advocate for the proper change. We have been threatened by Florida Crystals in the past for sharing the documentary "Big Sugar: Sweet, White and Deadly" on social media, but their threats fall on deaf ears in our office. You can watch Part 1 and Part 2 below.

And Back to Inspiration.

It's tough to read about the state of affairs for our waterways and Everglades, and the debauchery of the sugar industry in Florida, we know. For our own sanity, we go out of our way to find images and stories that inspire us AND things that make us LOL. We share an office favorite below. Enjoy.

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Remember when we said you could make a big difference in the Everglades? Well, you did!

You Roared, They Listened

For months, we have called on you to make your voice heard. Tens of thousands of emails and tweets later, the Army Corps of Engineers heard you. For the first time ever, balance has been brought to the system of managing water in Lake Okeechobee. Before today, two sugar baron families called all the shots - leaving the Everglades and both coasts of Florida imperiled. We have been told by the Army Corps they have never received as much input from the public as they have during this LOSOM process. Combined with voices from other groups of advocates, like Captains for Clean Water and Friends of the Everglades, Floridians roared.

No Seagrass, No Life

Most Floridians don’t appreciate the importance of seagrass beds. They maintain water clarity, provide shelter for fish, shellfish, and crustaceans, use their roots to stabilize bottom sediment and provide a food source for birds and sea life. In a word, they are powerhouses. Statewide, the damage from industrial agriculture pollution and failing municipal sewer systems to these vital ecosystems has been profound. It breaks our hearts but does not surprise us to see the visible carnage through the loss of so many manatee.

No Pressure, No Diamonds

It's tough to read about the state of affairs for our waterways and Everglades, and the debauchery of the sugar industry in Florida, we know. For our own sanity, we go out of our way to find images and stories that inspire us AND things that make us LOL. We share an office favorite below. Enjoy.

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Big Sugar's Debauchery, In Black and White

➤ The sugar industry puts Florida on the map! For most dangerous smoke in the U.S. that is. Compared to California and other areas ravaged by wildfires this year, sugarcane fields in South Florida still came in "first" for producing harmful smoke. And this is done purposefully, legally, by the sugar industry, year after year. Click the call to action link below to tell the Commissioner of Agriculture to bring this to an end.

➤ Most of South Florida's drinking water comes from underground aquifers, which hold some of the only pristine, unpolluted freshwater we have left. Nonetheless, some elected officials are willing to risk contaminating our most precious freshwater source by injecting radioactive wastewater from Piney Point underground. If the last century of Everglades destruction and restoration have taught us anything, it's that Mother Nature knows best. Deep injection wells are NOT the solution.

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Are You Ready For Some Good News?

➤ Despite the sugar companies' lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers, the EAA Reservoir continues as scheduled. With the first construction contract awarded last week, it's official. Everglades restoration - 1. Big Sugar - 0.

➤ The bad news: Red tide and Blue-green algae continue to flourish in the waters of Florida. Cyanobacteria covered most of Lake Okeechobee this year, threatening the coasts like a loaded gun. The good news: that toxic water was NOT released to the coasts, and as we head into the dry season, we are counting that as a win. Thank you, Army Corps.

➤ When they can’t argue the science, Big Sugar works to kill the messenger. Over the years we’ve heard some doozies. “The Trust just hates farmers!” and even, “They want that (sugar’s) land to develop themselves!” Of course, neither are true. A new one landed on our page recently, and it really made us LOL - so we just had to share it. Enjoy.

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What Will It Take To Save the Everglades?

➤ We are at a critical juncture when it comes to one of the biggest factors deciding the fate of Everglades restoration: funding. If Democrats can secure President Biden's $3.5 trillion "Build Back Better" infrastructure plan, the Everglades could receive $5 billion of that. Otherwise, we will we leaning on Florida's congressional delegation to get those dollars in the regular budget process.

➤ Florida's Everglades, coastal waterways, natural springs and other beloved heirlooms of our state are all facing a crisis from pollution, overdevelopment and a lack of the political will needed to rein it in. We make it easy to contact your elected officials about this vital issue at the link below.

➤ To save the Everglades, we are forced to battle the sugar industry. That is an unfortunate fact. So, it is important for Floridians to understand this industry – who they are, what they do, and how they maintain their stranglehold on Florida's water management and political system. One critical piece of their scheme is the sugar subsidy program. US News & World Report explains below.

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