text by Christina Pettersson

It is time to grow up folks. Flipping out over even a picture of a snake or spider or gator is not only ridiculous, but incredibly irresponsible. I understand that television happily fosters these fears, but you can be better than that. Don’t teach your children to adopt your irrational fears. If you want the planet to survive our human impact at all, take steps to face them. Become an advocate for the environment you actually live in. Nature is not the enemy. We are.

One million people from all over the world visit the Everglades each year, but only a small percentage are locals. Many go their whole lives driving thru it, flying over it, but never actually stepping foot in it. It is devalued in part because it is less dramatic in that traditional way Yosemite might be. But did you know it is the first national park created to protect an ecosystem? Yellowstone and many others were formed to protect geological formations, essentially pretty rocks, but the Everglades was understood to be so astonishing and unique in its totality, an environment that actually flourishes on fire, flood and drought, that it deserved complete protection. We are incredibly lucky to live in a metropolitan city beside her, to drive thru the gates of the park and enter the past. It is a sin not to know it. Even if you cannot connect to it, do not devalue it. It is the real world. It is life. Everything else is just chatter.

Rich men drunk on hubris have been trying to erase the Everglades for almost two hundred years now by labeling it a detestable snake and gator infested swamp to bulldoze over. They continue to devalue it today. Even now Mayor Gimenez and 9 out of 10 $$ commissioners applaud two horrific mega developments that border and even cross the Urban Development Line (UDB), which is supposed to protect the Everglades forever. One is an expansion of the 836 highway, and the other? THE BIGGEST MALL IN THE WORLD, containing among other things, a ski slope, water park, submarine lake and artificial beach inside. That’s right, ON ACTUAL WETLANDS. Called… THE AMERICAN DREAM MALL. It isn’t even an American company. Projections are more visitors than Disney World, and there isn’t even a plan to recycle the water they’ll take straight from the Everglades. F@%king Florida. You can’t make this shit up.

These criminal projects would never be allowed next to Yosemite or Yellowstone but they get away with it here because not enough people speak up, and every day there’s less to save.

Your voices now are paramount. Learn who your commissioners are, contact them often, and tell them to HOLD THE LINE. Tell them these projects are insane. Get irate and belligerent!

Their next vote is Sept 27.

Christina Pettersson is a South Florida based artist.