Darksyde’s latest Science Friday is an interview with Michael Grunwald on the subject of the Florida Everglades. It’s a mostly bad news with threads of forlorn hope scattered throughout, like most environmental news.
The bad news is that the ecosystem is in a state of near-collapse. Lake Okeechobee is going to hell; it’s the color of espresso. The Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries are just gross. And CERP is already way over budget, behind schedule, and off track; Congress is losing interest in funding it. The good news is that there are signs that Floridians are beginning to recognize that their way of life is not sustainable. Posh towns like Fort Myers, Sanibel, Stuart and Jupiter are in revolt over the decline of the estuaries; retirees are having trouble breathing at the beach. Governor Bush shocked enviros by taking their side in a battle over sprawl in Miami-Dade County. A plan to build a massive biotech campus at the edge of the Everglades–maybe the biggest project in Florida since Disney–was blocked by an environmental lawsuit; now it looks like it’s going to move to a more sensible location. And remember: several million acres of the Everglades ecosystem is already in public ownership. So there’s hope.