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Remember: My Opinion: A National Note

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Opinion: A National Note

Last week, in what should have been advertised by mass media as a major news event, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar journeyed to South Florida to join in the groundbreaking of a desperately needed environmental project.

In 1928, the Tamiami Trail was finished in southern Florida. The Trail, which was designed to connect the cities of Tampa and Miami turned out to act as a dam which prevented the flow of water across the Everglades. A vast majority of the Everglades is in fact a very slow moving, shallow body of water. The incredible diverse ecosystem that exists in the Everglades is dependent on that flow of water. Over the years, various human constructions such as the Tamiami Trail and various other water flow projects have significantly displaced that naturally occurring flow of water and in turn have put the health of the Everglades at risk.

That risk has manifested itself in the loss of native species. The drier conditions have allowed certain invasive fish and plants to begin dominating sections of the Everglades and in turn have destroyed the balance of the overall ecosystem. In what was once a land of wading birds, every year less and less are present. Since the 1950's, there has been a percentage drop over 50% in the presence of said birds.

I congratulate Secretary Salazar for attending the project and showing America that the Obama administration has an eye on projects such as this. The Obama administration needs to step it up and show more and deeper support for projects like this across the country. It is now, the time to act and save the sections of America's environment that human beings have put into the frying pan.

During this time of economic turmoil, I would hope that the President can see the historical parallel to the actions of Franklin Roosevelt during the Depression. A second Works Progress Administration would have been a much better use of bailout money than securing the financial firms dubbed "too big to fail". During the the first W.P.A, our National Parks System was taken to a new level and here at home, as we all well know, our parks system was given its identity. Thousands were given jobs and a new pride in the most real aspect of our country was born.

These days, with the falsely jingoistic swill of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and whoever else spits vitriol about the "real" America, I remind them and their adherents that the real America, like that in the Everglades is actually the America in danger. The pine trees dying by the hundreds in Yellowstone due to a beetle infestation caused by continually warming weather is the America in danger. The glaciers disappearing from Glacier National Park are exposing the rock of the actuality that is climate change. Here at home, the Japanese Knotweed in Trout Creek Parkway is our microcosmic representation of the larger ignorance of environmental degradation across America.

The Everglades are still in incredible danger. In fact, all of our environment is. Please, Mr. President, take charge. Start the change promised. Our country needs it.

Here, in Allentown, we too can lead by example. It is time to start.


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