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.



 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”