August 14, 2012


Adena Springs Ranch and the like.
The Ranch wants to take a huge slice (equivalent to 50,000 population) of a precious natural resource – clean fresh water from the underground aquifer. It might return probably back some portion of it  on the surface – seriously contaminated.  In our quest for water, we are heavily taxing our water resources.  The net result of it is that, for a local example, the amount of close by Silver Springs flow has already gone down 50%.  Freshwater in aquifers can be considered a non-renewable resource because it takes decades or hundreds of years (sometimes even longer) to replenish.  This is debatable and debated around Silver Springs by experts from both sides as the permit for water withdrawal is being considered (and contested).
According to the free-market economy, the price of a resource should be based on the supply/demand situation determining the commodity market values.  Correspondingly, that water permit should cost so much and be so restrictive that the Ranch would think more than twice about the feasibility of its venture.
The key question could be:  What do we need more, water – or beef ?
(And, considering the precarious Florida water situation – does that beef have to come from Florida ?)

August 9, 2012


Roaring around pristine nature.
Everybody is impressed by the natural beauty and uniqueness of Florida Everglades. What a priceless piece of pristine nature !  Excuse me, what did you say ? – I did not quite hear you now.
An airboat was just roaring by.  Its billion-horsepower noise at the deafening level – to the point that the tourists have to don earplugs to take a ride through that “pristine” nature of the Everglades. The tourism ads do not tell you about that !
But this certainly must be the way to go and see “nature” – all ads recommend it.  Mother Nature just loves our roaring contraptions. It is for sure that all the birds are waiting for them.  Elks and deers too. They are known to come from a distance to experience the roar.  And alligators ?
Actually, most people must believe that when it is “horse power” it must be natural.
So we put these horse-powered engines on airboats and plow the Everglades waters with them.  Oh, that wonderful nature around – and the wildlife ! Never mind the eardrum-piercing noise, we paid for it.
And where there is not enough water, we hop on the swamp-buggies and rip up the land too.
With a zillion horsepowers it just must be the best way to experience the magic of pristine nature.  And we are dead set on doing it. Some even call it a “sport”. Well, it shakes up the potbellies - -
Sometimes I wish that fuel would cost $50 per gallon.
As little boy-scouts, we may have heard something about “see and not be seen” when entering the majestic outdoors cathedral of Mother Nature. By extension, also “hear and not be heard” – a broken twig is a disturbance - -
I don’t know if our children are aware nowadays what nature is and what it is all about. However, they may catch glimps of it on their smart phones. The roaring monster of an airboat or a swamp-buggy gives them the thrill of power – isn’t that the nature we see all around ?
Now – take a kayak and try to see the watery beauty of the Everglades – you don’t have to go too far, there is enough of it just around the corner. Just make sure that you don’t get run over by an airboat – although you will hear it from 10 miles away. But watch out - they may not hear you.
If you are a landlubber – just walk away on the flat and luscious Everglades land feeling your way with a stick. And keep away from the tracks that a swamp-buggy left there – it may come back to devour you – rather than a panther or an alligator.
See, listen, enjoy - no horse-powers, no earplugs – just you and her, Mother Nature.

August 1, 2012


"Ain't it too small, what do you think, doc ?"
We are undoubtedly the most successful species on this planet when it comes to populating it.  Expanding by leaps and bounds, doubling human numbers every 35 years – or less.  I was used to 3 billion people around me, now our global numbers topped 7 billion – our children better get used to 9-11 billion.  Florida has been doing particularly well – doubling its population every 20 years.
The population growth is a controversial issue, putting it succinctly. Just listen to the Pope’s sort of  “go and multiply” message - and then to environmental scientists considering sustainability - -
Yet, our exploding numbers, causing the shrinking ‘elbow space’ and critical resource scarcities, are undoubtedly the reason for escalating and deadly frictions on this globe.  And the endless human GREED – only gets multiplied by all those billions.
The current 19+ million people hanging onto Florida are the real reason for impossibility of the Everglades restoration too.  We dewatered the ‘swamp’ to gain land and converted it to intensive farming and agriculture uses as well as sprawling cities.  Florida economc machine revved up as our numbers kept growing – look at the census data, ask the developers, the government, just look around. Nowadays, a serious notion to “grow out of our debt” tends to be practiced as a working and ‘workable’ economic tool. Actually, our enlightened economists hardly even have an economy model for the population no-growth scenario. Corporate growth is a sacrosanct manta – and practice.  Grow – grow – grow – is it workable ?
All growth curves level off – and decline, according to the Malthusian hypothesis and historical observations.  Human history knows many instances where civilizations perished as their growth became unsustainable. Running out of resources (food, water, materials) and poisoning themselves with refuse and by-products are the unmistakable reasons. 
Could we see similar pressures in Florida ?
Freshwater shortages, pollution problems, economic dislocations and such – all stemming from the growing population pressures. 
Whether we like it or not, that is at the bottom of it all.