The Everglades: Shifting the paradigm

The Everglades, our coastal estuaries and Florida’s waterways, all in need of immediate attention and remediation, are certainly not environmental and economic outliers.

Greed, political graft and stupidity are not affected by geographical boundaries.

Freshwater bodies across the United States are under assault and impaired by the same things – greed, political graft and utter stupidity.

From the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains to Florida Bay, the headwaters of the Florida Keys, profoundly bad decisions and decades of inaction have allowed both the redirection of the natural flows of water, and corporate interests to pollute those waters. The combination has been devastating to the one thing all living creatures need to survive – clean water.


This week, we shared poignant news stories from across the nation that highlight the growing dangers we face. The threats to human health, wildlife and mans’ best friends are mounting.

But Florida is unique in one way. The health of our economy is inextricably tied to healthy freshwater and saltwater. So, if there is another issue that should carry more weight for all our politicians – local, state and federal – for the life of us, we cannot think of it.

The truth is, the battle we wage is greater than the vast Everglades ecosystem. If we can change the political paradigm that is killing the Everglades, we can apply that same new framework to Florida’s prized springs, rivers, lakes, streams and oceans.

Florida now has a Governor who is hell-bent on turning things around, but it will also take the Legislature to give him the tools required – like imposing reasonable regulations on corporate agricultural and public utilities and fast-tracking technological advances – to put Florida’s waters back on solid footing.

That’s where you and we come in. Stay smart and engaged.

And, stick with us!

Kimberly Mitchell
Executive Director  

Some algal blooms leave a film of muck on the surface and make the water ruddy, but others are difficult to immediately detect, such as the blooms in the pond where the dogs were exposed.

Izzy, Abby and Harpo died from the toxic algae. All three experienced liver failure.

CNN: A North Carolina woman took her three dogs to a pond to play. Within hours, her pups had died from toxic algae

“Late summer is the ‘bloom’ time for harmful cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, and some of Virginia’s ponds and streams are under advisories, the Virginia Department of Health says.”

A warmer climate and nutrient pollution are colliding in ways that are subjecting freshwater bodies – lakes, rivers and streams – to sometimes dangerous conditions for people, plants and animals. The vast majority are man-made causes. 

VIRGINIA MERCURY: Cyanobacteria blooms can be fatal for pets

Today, we have a Governor who is hell-bent on turning things around, but it will also take the Legislature to give him the tools required, like reasonable regulations on agricultural and municipal infractions, to get it resolved. And we are working alongside him.

Until then, please pay attention and keep your animals safe. This kind of heartbreak is unfathomable.

ORLANDO SENTINEL: Three dogs died from toxic algae after playing in a pond: report

“A beautiful animal in the beautiful Everglades.” – Alligator Ron Bergeron

Florida bears are an important part of the Everglades and a true success story. Back in the 1990s, there were only 300 bears left in Florida. Today, that number is closer to 5,000.

WATCH NOW: "Alligator Ron" Bergeron: Long live the Florida bear

For decades, sugar barons have used Lake O as their personal reservoir and toilet. We are all living with the profound consequences.

Now, the Army Corps has the "audacity" to deviate from the playbook written by and for Big Sugar – to bring the coasts some relief from toxic discharges – and Big Sugar sues.

TC PALM: We finally get a break on toxic algae, and U.S. Sugar sues | Gil Smart

America’s Everglades are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. Its wetlands grandeur is unsurpassed. Carved out at the southern tip, "Everglades National Park is a must-visit spot. Boasting more than 2,300 square miles of subtropical wilderness and wildlife, here’s how to do the Everglades like a pro."

PALM BEACH POST: Everglades National Park: 5 reasons you should visit this Florida park

Here’s a quick, two-minute tour in the Everglades by airboat with Dalia Colon. We highly recommend the watch AND the visit. It just doesn’t get more Florida than the Everglades!

INSIDER: Everglades Airboat ride 

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