On Saturday, November 16th, I had the pleasure of attending the Citizens’ Clean Water Summit. Over 250 people from all over Florida came together in Orlando to talk about something that is often taken for granted: clean water. Florida waterways are currently facing very serious problems, some of which I was not even aware of until the summit, and the regions in Florida are not all facing the exact same problem, but the one thing that we have in common is that we have had it– we want clean water and we want it now.
I love living next to the beautiful Indian River Lagoon, the most biologically diverse estuary in North America. I love looking out on the Lagoon and suddenly seeing a few dorsal fins from bottlenose dolphins appear and I love seeing manatees moseying along. My appreciation for these beautiful animals led me to be a clean water advocate and made me appreciate where I live. Reading articles about the mass die-offs of the wildlife in the Lagoon make me feel physically ill. Hearing about more and more people contracting flesh-eating bacterial infections from being near the Lagoon makes me afraid to go near the thing that I love most about my home. I’m tired of my elected officials wasting time and ordering more and more scientific studies because the studies that have already been conducted are “inconclusive”. I’m angry that Big Sugar and fertilizer companies are being protected over the health of Floridians and the beautiful wildlife that used to thrive here. All these reasons are why I attended the Citizens’ Clean Water Summit.
photo by Jennifer Winter
The point of the summit was to build a network of clean water advocates from every region of the Sunshine State so that we can come together as one and take action. We began to plan local actions as well as one unified action to take place in Tallahassee– more details on that soon!
I left the summit with even more reasons to be angry– polluted springs in central Florida, extreme “green slime” algae blooms all over the state, coral reef die-offs in the Keys– but I also left with a smile because now I have more faith than ever that we can do something to make things better. I am now a proud member of a statewide network of over 250 individuals and 119 organizations. We have the power to fix these problems, and we’re going to. It is going to take time, hard work, and many unified voices, but it will all be worth it because we will save Florida’s water.
Are you a Floridian who is interested in joining the fight? E-mail me at email@example.com!