FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rebranding Failure as Success

by ALAN FARAGO

So why is the Bush White House advocating for the removal of Everglades National Park from the United Nation’s list of World Heritage Sites in Danger? Orwellian, yes.

According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, “the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations, meeting in New Zealand, “commended the US for its investment of scientific and financial resources to rehabilite the site’. And x’ed the Everglades from its endangered ecosystem list.

Now hold on, pardner. If there was ever a poster-child for ruined ecosystems, Florida’s Everglades is it. Joe Podgor, of Friends of the Everglades, once said, “The Everglades is a test. If we pass, we get to keep the planet.” Well, yes.

We certainly are attentive, now, to issues of “keeping the planet”.

But, if you want a prescient estimate of our chances of keeping the planet, consider the damage the building boom of the past decade has done to Florida where the Growth Machine repeatedly advertised, unquestioned by the mass media, its accomplishments as a benefit to society and the economy: cast your eyes on the poor Everglades pinata.

Decades of agitation have not restored the Everglades. What the Everglades demonstrate above all else, in reflection of Joe Podgor’s observation, is that when the United States is confronted with pressure to change economic behavior rooted in the power of corporations, the result is an avalanche of “process” that condemns iniative to a bog as thick and heavy as–well– the Everglades.

One of the core precursor projects in the East Everglades keeps drifting further and further from completion. The price tage for Modified Waters has risen in nearly two decades from just over $100 million to nearly $1 billion. It is meant to balance the needs of an endangered species and also a handful of property owners in the 8.5 Square Mile Area who would not sell their property to the federal government. (A few former county commissioners who opposed the project version that would have subject the entire area to condemnation also owned property in the area.)

In other words, Everglades restoration is either an utter mess or a windfall for land speculators.

A Greenwire story today reports that “the Bush administration had lobbied the international body to remove the Everglades from the list of world-class ecosystems suffering from severe environmental degradation. The Everglades were added to the World Heritage List in 1979 and placed on the danger list in 1993. Todd Willens, Interior’s deputy assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, said in a statement, “Although full implementation of some restoration measures is still a few years off, we have committed significant resources toward the restoration of the Everglades.'”

“We”? OMG. Did Everglades National Park even know that it was being de-listed? We bet, no. We bet that a poll of Everglades National Park scientists of whether to be de-listed or not would be 100 percent against de-listing.

The federal government has manifestly failed its end of the budget agreement to fund Everglades “restoration”. But for its part, Congress has rightly questioned whether the State of Florida–under Governor Bush, the state seized the leading role in what was intended, originally, as a 50-50 partnership–is really restoring the Everglades or just providing billions to industrial water supply projects to fuel Florida’s growth.

Everglades National Park is under-funded and at a competitive disadvantage in asserting science policy over restoration rubrics, primarily water supply enhancements for the cities and agriculture.

Would President Bush use the UN’s de-listing of the Everglades as an environmental “achievement” in his legacy speech, when he leaves office? If he does, it won’t be the first piece of misinformation rebranding failure as accomplishment.

ALAN FARAGO of Coral Gables, who writes about the environment and the politics of South Florida, can be reached at alanfarago@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

Alan Farago is president of Friends of the Everglades and can be reached at afarago@bellsouth.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail