Florida Springs: The Best Field Trip!
Dispatch Day 1
Yesterday we returned from our field study trip to Ichetucknee Springs. God, they are so beautiful. That color of electric blue is seriously one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring things I have ever seen before.
But, as beautiful as they are, more than ever, I am afraid. I am afraid for our planet and nature.
Florida’s springs are in truly danger. Although their history is as old as the Earth itself, humans must intervene now to prevent permanent damage and loss.
The springs will exist- unless we succeed in truly draining them all by dropping the water table!
But will they retain their beauty? Is a spring that’s choked off by toxic algae still the same spring? Will they be usable to humans?
We went to one spring, formerly a popular attraction, called White Sulphur Springs. It is an old bath house that people used to use for mineral healing. It is completely drained now. The spring levels dropped and now it’s just an empty pool, which is heart breaking and scary to see.
Florida’s springs and waterways are under assault from many directions.
First, the most insidious threat is that of over-consumption of water.
In the year 2019 it is unfathomable that big agriculture insists on using archaic and wasteful irrigation technology. Superior technology, like drip irrigation, and vertical farming techniques, must be adopted.
I read an article last week about the rubber stamp approval process that big ag gets in Florida to dig a new deep-access irrigation well.
It is disheartening that our representatives are so out of touch with the reality of our ecological disaster.
If big agriculture in Florida adopted sensible and honest approach to water management we would all be in a much better spot for the future. Why is it so hard to adopt modern irrigation principles? The truly unfathomable thing about the situation is that not only would farms be more productive if they switched to sensible practices, but they would be more profitable as well!
Secondly, nitrates. I cannot believe that so many people still consume beef when it’s so clearly devastating for our environment. We drove past a feed lot and it was horrifying to see the amount of animal efluent that is leeching into our groundwater.
The amount of water required to raise cattle is completely unjustifiable in the modern era. When will people come to their senses and stop engaging in such destructive lifestyle choices?
We met our new neighbor last week and I had to bite my tongue as she told us about her plans to fertilize her entire yard. We only just met her, I don’t want to be the one to start the relationship off on a bad foot.
I forget sometimes that it’s not common knowledge that fertilizer is toxic to our ecosystem, and that releasing nitrates into groundwater is like showering algae with growth hormone!
Michelle, who was with me for the conversation, suggested afterward that we should not say anything directly, but should slip an algae awareness brochure into her mailbox.
And lastly, I am so worried about our river’s future in terms of children’s appreciation for the natural environment.
While at Ichetucknee we saw countless children running off-trail and causing soil erosion. Don’t they know better? Of course they don’t… but their teachers and parents should. Where were they, while these kids were running wild and demolishing a fragile ecosystem?
They were on instagram, that’s where they were. They were completely consumed by their smartphones. It was hard to watch, really. Like the interaction with our neighbor, I literally had to bite my tongue and just walk away. At the end of the day, I am Canadian, and I will not start a confrontation.
Dinner is boiling over and Peso is whining, time to stop writing now.