Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Florida Project

Before the European settlement of Florida more than 50% of my adopted home state was freshwater wetlands -- wetlands that provided habitat for all manner of native flora and fauna, that provided natural flood control, that cleansed the groundwater aquifers of pollutants, that created natural beauty that was appreciated by too few for too long.

A "strand" swamp - Jennings State Forrest, Middleburg. Florida

Since the arrival of our ancestors, more than 30% of the formerly existing wetlands have been drained for residential development, "flood control", and agricultural use. The process continues, particularly along the coastal and recreational corridors. As I think back across the 22 years that we have lived in east-central and northeast Florida, the amount of human encroachment on the natural environment of the Sunshine State is astonishing. As a northern invader myself, I understand the allure of Florida -- it's warmth and economic opportunity. Admittedly, I have to keep my hypocracy tucked into a back pocket when I turn a critical eye and voice or vote upon those who would continue the development trend of the last century. But I have learned to love this place -- this ecology -- all places and native environments, really, but Florida all the more because I live here, and have learned to appreciate it's simple, original, natural gifts. Thus The Florida Project. My own effort, as a single voice, as a member of larger organizations, as a citizen-voter, as a professional, as an artist, a photographer, a songwriter -- to make some small impact to preserve, at least in memory, some piece of this miraculous natural geography.
Black Creek -- a tannic "back-water" river -- northeast Florida

I'm not at all sure what the end-product of this will be -- a book, a blog, a consortium of existing nonprofit organizations, a CD, a documentary, some combination or all of the above. But something it will be. Made out of the threads of my spare time for now as I continue to meet the calling of an important and very meaningful career, something it will be... it is far too important for it not to be. Stand by -- and let's see what happens.

1 comment:

I am a lover of children's literature said...

Wow, the Florida project, that of preserving and maintaining the natural beauty of the sunshine state is indeed a good and noble cause.

Both of your photos bring out the natural beauty of the state, but he second one I especially appreciate. It is places like this that I love to visit as much as I can. Nothing can compare to the tranquility and peace of mind that they bring to the human soul.

Hopefully, you can have at least some impact on helping Floridians to realize what a treasure they have in their mist, and thus inspire in them the will and determination to protect and cherish the gift God gave them?