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‘In your face’ protests needed

By Staff | Jul 6, 2011

To the editor,

Today’s SCCF newsletter is about the most discouraging thing I have read in a long time. It should ne a wake-up call to the futility of writing letters, sending e-mails, donating to PURRE, educating the public and to influence politicians, the Army Corps of Engineers or the South Florida Water Management District. The e-mail in return to mine from the Water District was typical — we send the water where it in most needed, economically, which translates to “Big Sugar.”

Years ago, I asked Eric Lindblad why the SCCF was not more activist; his reply was that first we would collect scientific data that would be used to influence the powers that be. Well, after millions spent on RECON sensors and peer-reviewed science, we are no farther along. There is absolutely no point in pursuing more science. Every piece of research ends with “we need more study,” which interpreted means we want another grant. Anyone who has had a farm pond in Illinois knows, without science, that fertilizer causes algae to grow.

Another example is red tide. The scientists have said for years that fertilizer might be a factor, but since red tide was around prior to chemical fertilizers and they need more data. They always need more data. They didn’t consider that long before Florida was settled by polluters, there were thousands of rookeries along the coast — and guano, or bird crap, is a wonderful fertilizer. When it rained, the guano went to sea and caused red tide, just like today’s chemicals. The trouble is that today, there are more chemical fertilizers and human sewage than birds.

The legislators and this governor are not the least interested in science or public opinion. The respond to donations from industry and rarely intense pressure from voters. So far, they have not had meaningful voter pressure.

The only thing that will change the legislators and activate public opinion is the sort of “in your face” protests that worked with civil rights during the 1960’s. One of the most effective environmental activists was a lone guy, the “Fox” who single handedly cleaned up the Fox River in Illinois by dumping dead fish in corporate headquarters, stopping up drains from polluting factories and generally raising hell. He had plenty of publicity and managed to shame the corporate polluters and the goevernment int taking action. Today, the Fox River is relatively clean.

I am really ticked off! It is time for SCCF, together with the Sierra Club, Friends of the Everglades and every other Florida environmental organization to organize hundreds of people, in caravans with trucks full of dead fish, dead birds and stinking algae to descend on the headquarters of “Big Sugar,” the governor’s home and the legislature. We can dump the mess in their corporate offices and on the floor of the legislature. I will be happy to lie down and go to jail, even though I have already been busted by the cops for sending dead shrimp to Jeb Bush, the great developer. It is against the law to send perishables through the mail, but I claimed that the shrimp had already perished. All we need are slogans, banners, theme songs and burning effigies of Governor Scott, corporate executives, Connie Mack and Senator Rubio. But then, I suppose, that would offend the corporate donors of SCCF.

Really fed up,

John Raffensperger, MD