Last week, the Everglades Coalition met at a fancy waterfront resort in Fort Myers, where they all took their parts in an elaborate play orchestrated with a few millionaires and billionaires, as they continued to ignore the threats of the lives of the residents living in the communities south of Lake Okeechobee.
They've bought and paid for scientists with their 38-slide Powerpoint presentations to try to legitimize the notion that all of the plumbing problems in the coastal communities and Florida Everglades can be solved if we just flood places like Clewiston, South Bay, Pahokee and Belle Glade.
"Send the Water South," they said. Send the polluted water from areas north of Lake Okeechobee into the "Glades" communities south of Lake Okeechobee. Anywhere that puts the problems of dealing with this excess rainfall on someone else.
Move it away from their backyards. Let the working families, the minority communities, the farmers and the hard-working country folks here in the Glades communities deal with it. Seize their land and take their livelihoods if you must - but "Send the Water South," they demand.
If the dike around Lake Okeechobee can't hold all that water, too bad. If those folks in the Glades are left wading around in waste-deep polluted water like they were in New Orleans, so be it. Just "Send the Water South."
If it costs farms and mills and jobs and families, oh well. Just "Send the Water South."
Well, we here in the Glades communities are the "South." We bear the brunt of this mindless scheme. We are the victims in this sad play. We are the inconvenient truth. It's our jobs that are lost. It's our communities that are destroyed. It's our land that is seized.
"Send the Water South" is not a solution - it's a weapon. A weapon designed to destroy agriculture, punish farmers and displace people south of Lake Okeechobee. It's a plan hatched by some very wealthy outsiders who view Florida as their playground and Floridians as their servants. The plan will not make our water cleaner or more abundant. It only serves to turn Floridians against each other for the pleasure of very rich people who don't even live here. The shameful truth of the matter is that it will not stop or even significantly reduce the discharges to the estuaries, and these folks know that.
So as the Everglades Coalition gathered to discuss the fate of the water and the plants and the wildlife here in the Everglades, remember also her people.
We, too, are the Glades. This is our home. We are not just going away because Glades Lives Matter. Our Lives Matter.
Janet Taylor is with Glades Lives Matter. For additional information, visit on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/GladesLivesMatterToo/.