Sunset On The St. Johns River, Riverdale, Florida
As we come up on another annual Earth Day it seems to me that many of us in the affluent first-world are starting to "get it". Maybe it was Al Gore and his "Inconvenient Truth". Maybe the price of fuel -- now over $3.30 for a gallon of regular gas here in north Florida. Maybe the fact that most of us are beginning to feel the impacts of climate change personally. Probably a combination of these and much more. Whatever the cause, it is clear that Green is "in". Good for us, as far as that goes. The problem is that far too few of us are really getting it. Just look around you at the trash along the highways (remember the weeping native-American commercial?), the plastic bottles and aluminum can dropped on the ground within arms reach of a trash container. I see our lack of awareness every time I go to the St. Johns River (several times weekly) in the detritus washed up on the banks. I see it in the over-sized SUVs that contain one driver and zero passengers on my daily commute. I see it in the effort of the counties of central Florida (read Orlando and environs) to suck hundreds of millions of gallons of water from the St. Johns every day to support the drinking and irrigation needs of the hideous and seemingly insatiable population growth of the area. These are just a few of the reasons that I volunteer for and financially support the St. Johns Riverkeeper organization. I want to be able to continue to photograph sunsets on a clean, healthy river. I want to continue to photograph Little Blue Herons like the one below in a sustainable urban riverine ecosystem.
Little Blue Heron, Fishing in a creek off of the St. Johns River on a foggy morning.
So, yes, we are becoming more aware, incrementally, slowly, some of us -- better than none of us, but not yet enough of us.
This Saturday, April 19th, I'll be joining other Riverkeeper volunteers at Alpine Groves Park in Switzerland (St. Johns County) Florida for the dual Earth Day celebration and William Bartram Birthday Bash. If you happen to be in the area that day, stop by, say hello, bring a camera if you have one, and bring an open mind. The future of my river -- the future of our planet depends on all of us becoming informed, caring stewards of the environment in which we, and our hiers must exist.