Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why I am an Environmentalist

My friends often call me a "tree hugger" and ask me if I want to "save the whales." Well, yes, I love to be in the woods, and I do not want to see them gone. And, yes, if a Right Whale where to wash up on St. Augustine Beach, I would be there to help get it back in the water. However, I do not participate in the blind environmentalism that many people in this country do (*cough**cough*Al Gore*cough*)

Seeing the destruction of natural areas in Florida is horrible, yes, but this is only a visible symptom of a deeper problem: the destruction of a people...a people with unique lives, values, and feelings. I am one of those people...one of the last of my people.

I visited a subdivision last Saturday that is being built on a potato farm that a member of my family used to own. Seeing the cookie-cutter houses on a piece of land that my family has owned for centuries did not sit well with me.

It was a farm. It wasn't a forest with Gophers and woodpeckers, and it wasn't a swamp with Bartram's Ixia and gators. It was a dang potato farm...bad for the environment.

So, what's the problem?

You can set aside nice little preserves to protect plants and animals. You cannot confine a people to a "Florida Cracker Preserve" or a "Minorcan Island." You get to a boiling point, and once it is reached, a culture will disappear forever...It will become blended with the invading culture, or it will be spread out to the point that it dies out within a few generations. This is what happened to the Native American peoples who were able to survive the illnesses that European invaders brought with them. They are fortunate, though, in that they DO have reservations just for them...Lucky souls.

The saddest thing to ever occur in my homeland since the destruction of the Timucuans or the displacement of the Seminoles, is the ongoing extinction of the Florida Cracker and Minorcan cultures...Much more sad than the ongoing extinction of the Gopher Tortoise.

These people moving into these cookie-cutter subdivisions, these people moving from whatever cultureless landscape from which they came, will never understand the pain of watching their culture get destroyed by foreigners. It's the modern War Between the States...It's an invasion.

This, my friends, is the reason I oppose development. I love the swamp, I love the woods, I love the mighty St. Johns, I love animals, I love plants, I love gators, I love ancient cypress trees, I love all this...But I love my people more.

If only they felt the pain...

7 comments:

John Cowart said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

Where would you suggest "these people" live?

Hurricane Teen said...

john - thank you, as usual :-D

anonymous - They are welcome to live here, but just don't try to change our culture and the way we do things. Read the last stanza of "Letter to a Yankee."

Floridacracker said...

Awww, come on, tell us how you really feel :)

I have a suggestion where "these people" live.

Idaho sounds nice.

On the other hand, HT, we can't escape the fact that many of the developers share our names and history. It's not all coming from north of the St. Marys.

Hurricane Teen said...

FC - Go destroy THOSE potato farms! There's a lot more of them, and no gators or rattlers to worry about!!

It's all too unfortunate how greedy some of us have become...I don't understand how that could be when we come from the same background and are all (well, most) taught to respect the land and our history. Those people see dollar signs on the land, not beauty like you and me. *sigh*

SophieMae said...

Where should 'these people' live? Hmmm, well, they lived somewhere before coming here. They could always go back.

I can't begin to understand how so many people actually LIKE to live in a little box 'made of ticky-tacky' so close to the next little box you can't fall down between them without hitting your head on one and stubbing your toe on the other. 'And they all look just the same.'

Hurricane Teen said...

sophie - I'm sorry, I just spotted this post today!

One of my favorite things to tell people when they complain about the names of our schools, the Confederate battle flag, our heritage, our weather, our driving etc.: "You're in Florida. Take it, or LEAVE IT!" or "You're in the South. Take it or LEAVE IT!"

And you, my friend, need to post more often! You have a loyal reader here who starves for more florida cracker crumbs!