CCAS has completed another active year and many members are now heading north to cooler climates! This was my first year as CCAS conservation “coordinator”, and although it has been a rewarding experience, I still haven’t figured out quite what to do with all the somewhat depressing information that has come my way! I started out with a few grand plans, but they quickly fell by the wayside as reality set in, so I decided to concentrate mainly on educating myself and sharing at least some of what I learned in a few blog entries.
There are so many layers to the conservation movement these days, and once I was identified as being the local “contact person” for Audubon I found myself on numerous local, state, and national environmental mailing lists. This was mostly a positive, but on the down side I was also subject to pressure from single issue groups that seemed to expect me to fight for their issue 24/7, and one thing I got really good at this year was saying no! So though I’ve spent a great deal of time networking, researching issues, and attending meetings, I’ve avoided getting too involved in any single issue, a fact I’m not particularly proud of!
I look back with nostalgia at the much younger me, for in the eighties I managed to teach full time and still be an activist for important issues. My name was frequently in the local papers, especially in matters involving indoor air quality at our schools. In that case we accomplished much, but then we were dealing mostly with educating educators, not politicians. In the nineties my husband and I fought passionately with other “down streamers” against the reinstallation of the Wysong Dam on the Withlacoochee, a battle that was lost mostly because of politics.
These days the conservation landscape is full of even more complex problems, often fueled by greed and self-interest as well as ignorance, and opposing sides seem less willing than ever to listen to each other. Meaningful solutions are difficult to achieve in this atmosphere, and it is easy to get discouraged. Perhaps I have developed a case of what I recently heard referred to as “ well informed futility syndrome”! At any rate I’m going to try to take a break for a spell. No, I’m not giving up, but for “therapy” I do intend to spend a good part of the summer just smelling the roses and enjoying what is still good and beautiful about our planet!
I plan to continue writing occasional blog entries over the summer months, but they may be more reflective than calls to action, with one major exception: I urge all of you to please start thinking now about the November election, and to take time this summer to examine where our candidates for governor stand on the issues! Also continue to familiarize yourself with the Land and Water Amendment and urge your friends and neighbors to support it as well. Making good choices in November may be the most important thing you can do to help determine what happens to our state’s land and water resources in the years to come!