Captured my first alligator of the season over the weekend. Also a white ibis, some pelicans, assorted egrets, herons and a falcon. (“Capture” being the fancy term photographers use for taking pictures.) Great birds and big slithery things are in abundance along Alligator Alley, the road that runs between the coasts of south Florida.
I’m down here for the annual series of Trinity alumnae luncheons. Trinity Women have gathered in Sarasota, Naples, Palm Beach and Vero Beach to hear all of the good news about Trinity today. They are delighted with our progress and eager to hear more about our emerging plans to develop the new academic center. Distance does not diminish the great loyalty and affection of alums across the years for alma mater. We’ve welcomed all classes from 1939 to the present at these various gatherings.
As I drive around the highly developed portions of this state, and then through some of the wilder parts of the Everglades, I can see, once again, the treacherous effects of environmental destruction. More condos, more gated communities, more shopping malls, more golf courses reach deep into wilderness areas once considered dangerous swamp, or flirt along coastlines where one great storm will reduce all that civilization to sand.
Environmental doubters are having a field day this winter mocking those who haved raised warnings about global climate change. Record snows and extended cold lead them to claim that global warming is a myth. Succeeding generations will suffer if we let these short-sighted interests prevail.
You don’t have to be a scientist to know that our planet is out of whack. In fact, wild weather is a symptom of environmental problems. But while scientists and politicians can have loud arguments about degrees of climate change, we regular citizens can just take a look around to know that pollution is rampant and habitats are threatened everywhere.
The Everglades region is among the most endangered in the world, with the catastrophic results of man-made canals compounding the destructive impact of too much asphalt paving over alligator hideouts. Every once in a while we read about a gator snatching a child or a shark attacking a swimmer — or a whale at Sea World killing a trainer. Some say the animals don’t know their place. I have to ask, which animals? The gators and crocs and big birds and small ones seem well aware of their turf. It’s the humans who don’t seem satisfied with the ground already claimed.