This was about the almost imminent demise of the Everglades that was a hot political debate in the early 2000’s. It is sad when there is a real environmental issue, or whatever kind of issue and politicians use it as a way to make themselves seem more appealing and caring than they really are. Everything is about money and self-propulsion up the ladder by whatever means necessary. It seemed like the Everglades were dying regardless what conservationists did to try to stop it. The Everglades is over such an extensive area that once it gets off balance to the point that it has, it is hard to save one aspect or species without further damaging another. Since people have inhabited and changed Florida so much, the terrain is different, the Everglades aren’t allowed to be the way it is supposed to. Water isn’t allowed to flow and settle where it will, and water being the biggest impacting factor in the biological system, this has drastically thrown off the delicate balance. There was so much back-and-forth fighting about Everglades restoration that “…South Florida’s interest groups were like drunks at the end of a bar fight. Their arms felt heavy, and they wanted an excuse to stop slugging.” A meeting over stone crabs accomplished an agreement to support funding for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).
In the early 2000’s, there was a big fight over a proposed airport in Homestead that was so clearly divided that the decision had to be made in the White House. The main target of the campaign was Vice President Al Gore who had the power to approve of disprove the airport, but he refused to make a stand in order to avoid appearing to give support to one group over another to keep his political standing. He walked a line politically between Democratic environmentalists in favor of saving the Everglades and Republican Cuban-Americans in favor of the airport to connect the US with Cuba. He later recalled that he “didn’t think the airport threatened the survival of the Everglades”. I’m not highly politically charged, but just based on the reading and what is known about the Everglades, this to me sounds like a really stupid, uneducated response to a big issue, especially for someone who took such a large and public stance on global warming. It seemed more as a potential threat to his career goals.
A strange thing on this issue was the fact that CERP wasn’t favored by those Floridians that worked directly with and made money from nature. They wanted to make sure that it didn’t favor nature over people. Even the Native American tribes in the area, the Miccosukee and Seminole, agreed with this stance which to me seems ludicrous. I realize that they profit greatly from their own economic interests, but isn’t the environment still their mother?
The resolution came January 16, 2001, which was four days before Clinton left office. The airport was rejected, and the Everglades dodged a huge bullet. “It was a reminder that money doesn’t always talk. People talk too”. One activist said that “This is a victory for common sense and public input over special interests”. Water quality was improving, America was committed to save the Everglades from the people, and this meant that there was a chance, not a promise that it would happen. I would be curious to know if there has been a positive change since the rejection of the airport or if the efforts were decreased after the political win of the fight.