You never know when the next crisis will hit. They show up without much notice. That’s what makes them hard to deal with and prepare for.
It’s not until high-speed winds start ripping shingles off your roof or toxic green sludge infiltrates your backyard or you’re quarantined indoors with your family 24 hours a day, that we wonder what we could’ve done to prevent the worst.
Hurricanes and viral pandemics are out of our control, but our water crisis—that was manmade. We have science-based solutions and projects lined up, but funding and public involvement need to be cemented to see them through.
We all get caught up in the responsibilities of our daily lives and things like water quality drift to the back of our minds. But for something as valuable and irreplaceable as Florida’s waterways, drinking water, and world-renowned estuaries, the question becomes: is it worth leaving fate to chance?
If it were all gone tomorrow, decimated beyond repair—would we be able to look back knowing we did everything we could to save the places we love? The same places we find ourselves escaping to with our families for sanctuary and momentary relief from a global pandemic?
We have a bad habit of kicking our problems down the road until they become much worse and more expensive to resolve. We’ve seen what bad looks like… our economy, environment, and health at risk in a seemingly endless hell.
Along with doing what we can to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, we can also do everything in our power to keep our waters clean—because we’ll be relying on it to restore our economy once this pandemic ends.
We need to be doing everything we can, as fast as we can to restore the Everglades and stop pollution from entering our waters. We must implement the known science-based solutions that will allow our estuaries to recover and prevent another water crisis like we experienced in 2018.
Progress has been happening faster than ever at the state level, but it’s time to see the results of that progress on the ground. We must stop the pollution flowing into Lake Okeechobee and build projects that clean water and flow it south through the Everglades as it historically did. This can’t happen soon enough.
Our lives have changed drastically over the past weeks. We’re spending much more time at home with loved ones, replacing office hours with Zoom calls, and spending more time washing our hands. A new normal will set in as time goes on. We have to make sure that conserving our natural resources is part of our new normal. Our health and livelihoods depend on healthy environments, clean water and clean air. Not just for ourselves, but for the young ones that will take our places when we’re gone.
We are defined by how we prepare for, react to, and learn from crises so that we avoid making the same mistakes in the future. From global pandemics to our declining water quality, let’s be known for working together to get through these challenges—not for hoarding toilet paper.
Captain Daniel Andrews