July 6, 2012


Picture the “activists” and you see speaches and media blitz, largely based on emotional appeals – with very little of, and largely populist, explanation of simplified problems, little facts with none or very select data. The days of effective emotional appeals are gone - says Nathaniel Reed.
But yes, ACTIVISM does have a role in a democratic system, in our collective decision-making process, in our governance. Activist thrusts are usually easy to understand and they are invariably as laud as possible to highlight their point.
Some point, sometimes even a wrong or so often unrealistic point.
In all this one can easily see how enormous government bureaucracy and turf wars, some of it and more often than not, reflecting influences of special interests often politically very powerful, spams a primitive but loud opposition drive – so called advocacy. Usually centered around all kinds of different NGOs representing (some) “people’s opinion”.
One extreme provokes another - not necessarily well founded extremes that could be respected.
The problem with advocacy often is lack of knowledge – the activists are rarely recruited from scientific backgrounds. They don’t read, let alone understand, scientific literature – yet claim science-based this and that. Unfortunately, it often boils down to parroting a couple of phrases that purport to reflect (some) science.
What is missing in knowledge, the advocacy movement replaces by emotions.
Read more, my friends, educate yourselves – and keenly understand what is behind the term “feasibility”. It means doing not only what is correct but also what is possible, what is practical, and what we can afford to pay for. The problem is that all of these are also slippery terms subject to interpretation. They also rely on trust – can we trust what the “government” is doing, what it is telling us ? And what the “science” is telling us ? Or is it all just manipulated beyond recognition ?
Be “reasonable” and think – but mainly, please, educate yourselves. Remember – read and study, comprehend and conclude with flexibility – and with a keen regard for FEASIBILITY of demands put forward.
Then go - and be active – armed with understanding what the role of periphyton is, for instance.
You can even run an ecological simulation model on your own. Or can you ?


  1. Bo, this is Joe - Browder. Needs a longer conversation, but your discussion of advocacy in the Everglades is deeply misinformed. Not at all related to the history of citizen activism regarding protection/restoration of Everglades. The CERP, because it is so money-and-model driven and largely focused on issues little related to ecosystem integrity within the more than 3,000,000 acres of national-interest (National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA)protected lands and waters in south Florida, has diminished the importance of Everglades biological sciences among most interests, but that's not a flaw unique to activists or advocates.

    Thanks... Joe

  2. Joe, thanks for the comment – yes, actually this might merit a long conversation. In my blog para, I aired an opinion. While you are entitled to yours, my opinion is not based on misinformation but on a long-term observation and well founded science experience. And there is nothing wrong with the leading contention exhorting everybody to study, to educate themselves, activists notwithstanding (and in particular) – we live in the age of expertise. Expertise is what also assists us to decide on proper feasibilities because there have to be compromises.
    There is much more to the Everglades issue than just biology (like: hydrology, hydropattern, water pollution control, technological breakthroughs and innovation, water supply, state of aquifers, salinity penetration, best management practices, judiciary and turf aspects, lobby practices, demographics, urban development practices, financial planning, national, state and local economies, general justice - and greed – that seems to be the most powerful driver). This all making up for a true gordian knot of issues, approaches, priorities and solutions – as well as pseudo-solutions. Because of their limited knowledge, our great- grand fathers practiced the latter – with the current debacle of the Everglades now upon us. And what do we leave our children with ?
    I hoped that my comments might stir some brainwaves and discussion. Thank you -