In an OPED this week, Florida writer Cynthia Barnett offers: “Nature slip-siding away for Suwannee River, Florida”. As a mother who can no longer show her children the natural heritage that shaped her own values, Barnett despairs at water management practices in the northern tier of the state that are quickly wrecking Florida’s streams, rivers and bays. It is the same here, in southeast Florida. In Naples and Tampa Bay. “… when we separate children from their natural waters, we undermine not only their individual healthy development — but the adaptability and resilience of an entire generation.”
And this is where cancer, comes in.
On local public radio the other day, I listened to Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, author of “Anticancer, A New Way Of life” and bought the book. Diet is the main feature of anticancer preventatives and protocols for taking charge of one’s disease. Environmental pollution is a primary culprit.
The problem with cancer is that its cause can’t be assigned to tap water you may have used, fields you may have played in, or air you may have breathed at one point in your life. The fact that we can’t provide 100 percent certainty is what industry exploits to claim that we have learned to mitigate pollution through effective regulation and laws. Industry ferociously lobbies to obscure the truth.
If you think your government is out to protect your environment and you from cancer, you are wrong.
The environment is relegated — especially these days — to the back quarters of elected officials’ concerns: even those who have had cancer. Public opinion polls are designed to isolate the environment as secondary concern and not one that turn your life upside down, as any cancer does.
Servan-Schreiber writes with authority. He survived brain cancer. “Suppose there were a product you could simply sprinkle on a steak, on a fruit, or in a glass of milk. By changing color, a single drop of this product would reveal the presence of pesticides. Overnight, the food industry would have to change its practices radically to meet the most elementary precautionary principle in dealing with the questionable substances introduced in our food since 1940. But these toxic substances are odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Are they ‘acceptable’ simply because they are hidden? Is this a concern only for those of us already affected once by cancer?”
The argument for protecting the Everglades is very much an argument about toxins in the water we drink. Your government tells you not to worry, but your government is wrong. Your government tells you it is doing everything within fiscal reason to protect the Everglades. BS. The rock mining industry succeeded, in this session of the legislature, shifting money it pays for wrecking our well field water quality; pouring a cement wall buried at one edge of the Everglades instead of building a new water quality treatment plant to serve 2 million residents and countless visitors who definitely would not visit Florida under the threat of cancer.
Right now, there are hotspots in the Everglades for the toxic version of mercury traceable to sugar farming practices that are largely unregulated because industry successfully lobbied the state legislature to prevent the advancement of new laws that protect water quality. Mercury in minute quantities is one of the most toxic substances known to mankind. Those hotspots in the Everglades are among the highest concentrations of methyl mercury in the nation.
In fact, industry has succeeded in putting government in full reverse where it comes to environmental protection. Why do you think, for example, civic groups and conservation organizations struggle so long and hard for regulations protecting the Urban Development Boundary and other land use regulations ultimately designed to protect water supply and water quality? You think we are just altruistic, do good’ers? You might think differently if you staring down the gun barrel of cancer.
Cancer stands for our destruction of the environment as clearly as the loss of herons, of bonefish, and yes — even the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow. You might not give a crap about manatees or butterflies, but if you care about cancer you should be an environmental activist. Even members of the Chamber of Commerce and LBA. You should join the organizations that are trying to protect your water quality and food. There are many.