First, some good news. Then, some sobering reports. And, then, back to inspiration.

Progress Is Not Just a Report.

In record numbers, the public roared, demanding fairness in a flawed water management system for Lake Okeechobee that had been designed by and for Big Sugar. Under the new operating rules that will take effect next year, the Army Corps will manage lake levels with 9 million Floridians, the Everglades, and our coastal estuaries as priorities.

Of course, managing the water in Lake O for fairness is just one piece of the puzzle – but it didn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. Last week, a critical infrastructure project that was slated to be the first CERP project 20+ years ago, is up and running. With Governor DeSantis ensuring it, there is more to come.

Corrupting Our Politics and the Magnificent Everglades.

It is critical for folks to understand the big picture of Big Sugar. Only then can you advocate for the proper change. We have been threatened by Florida Crystals in the past for sharing the documentary “Big Sugar: Sweet, White and Deadly” on social media, but their threats fall on deaf ears in our office. You can watch Part 1 and Part 2 below.

And Back to Inspiration.

It’s tough to read about the state of affairs for our waterways and Everglades, and the debauchery of the sugar industry in Florida, we know. For our own sanity, we go out of our way to find images and stories that inspire us AND things that make us LOL. We share an office favorite below. Enjoy.

EVERGLADES CALL TO ACTION

Statewide, the damage from industrial agriculture pollution and failing municipal sewer systems to our waterways is destroying the essence of life for these ecosystems – seagrass – taking with them all the things we hold dear. Only the Florida Legislature can fix the majority of what ails our waterways. Now is a good time to let them hear from you. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

WATER (MIS)MANAGEMENT | EVERGLADES TRUST 

Good news update! Getting more clean freshwater sent to the Everglades when it’s needed and reducing toxic discharges to the coasts is a big move in the right direction. For the first time in Florida history, the sugar barons did not call all the shots. Why? Because the public insisted on it. Thank you, public!

LONG-AWAITED C-44 RESERVOIR OPENS IN MARTIN COUNTY | WPTV

After 30 years of pleading and persuading, some of the most critical projects to save the Everglades and three nationally vital estuaries are coming online. The past few years have seen more progress than 30 years before them, combined. More to do, for sure, but here is another big day for the good guys.

P.S. The public is our secret weapon. Shhh, don’t tell Big Sugar.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE OPERATING SHIFTS SET BOOSTS TO EVERGLADES FLOW | ENR

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is changing the way it manages Lake Okeechobee to address several water-related issues in central and south Florida, including problematic algae blooms that have recurred in recent years. The Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) will replace the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule we have been forced to endure for decades.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES TO HALT SUGAR MERGER, SAYS IT WOULD HARM COMPETITION | ORLANDO SENTINEL

This lawsuit, which would preempt US Sugar from purchasing a competitor, Imperial Sugar out of Texas, “is the latest example of the Justice Department’s approach to aggressive enforcement of federal antitrust law that officials say is aimed at ensuring a fair and competitive market… Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter said the companies were ‘seeking to further consolidate an already cozy sugar industry.'” Hear, hear.

BIG-BUSINESS LINKED GROUP GAVE OVER $1 MILLION TO DARK-MONEY ENTITY PROMOTING “GHOST” CANDIDATES | ORLANDO SENTINEL 

It is unlikely anyone who reads this headline will have to guess which industry tops the list. But just in case, here is a hint: They’ve been corrupting the Everglades and Florida politics since the 1970s.

WHILE THE REST OF US DIE: FOOD KILLS | VICETV

In this episode, the series explore how powerful corporations, compliant government officials and corrupted science came together to build a food system that’s wreaking havoc on our health and threatening the planet. First up – Big Sugar. It’s a must-watch.

WATER & POWER: A CALIFORNIA HEIST | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 

This is the story of how a handful of water barons gained control of California’s most precious resource. In Florida, water belongs to the public. Our state constitution ensures it. But there are ways to get around the law with enough money and influence. Owning the public’s water is illegal, but Big Sugar gets rules and laws written to make their heist perfectly legal. We highly recommend you take a look at this, then rent National Geographic’s “Water & Power: A California Heist” on Amazon Prime or YouTube movies. The similarities are sobering, so are the consequences.

BIG SUGAR: SWEET, WHITE, & DEADLY | THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE SUGAR INDUSTRY PT.1 

This riveting documentary explores the dark history and modern power of the world’s reigning sugar cartels. Interviewing Carl Hiaasen, the documentary highlights Big Sugar’s political and environmental destruction of the Everglades. Going undercover, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation exposes the appalling working conditions on plantations in the Dominican Republic, where Haitian cane cutters live like slaves. Workers who live on Central Romano, a Fanjul-owned plantation, go hungry while working 12-hour days to earn $2 (US).

BIG SUGAR: SWEET, WHITE, & DEADLY | THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE SUGAR INDUSTRY PT.2

Just like the tobacco industry, Big Sugar casts doubt over the science. The science linking sugar and obesity, sugar and diabetes, even sugar and tooth decay. Like Big Tobacco, the sugar industry has remarkable access to power. They give to both political parties. They behave like Big Tobacco. They need to be treated like Big Tobacco. Then there’s slavery, and the destruction of America’s Everglades, and the Fanjuls of Florida Crystals (US Sugar is only left out because they do not grow in the Dominican Republic). It’s all laid out in this remarkable exposé.

AHHH, INSPIRATION

THE EVERGLADES BELONGS TO YOU | MAC STONE PHOTOGRAPHY

The late, great Nathaniel Reed gave us wise counsel. “We must tell this story, the Everglades story, in a way the people can understand. They will save the Everglades. There are tough choices ahead. Money must be spent. But above all, we must not give up” He was right, of course. Enjoy this video montage of some of award-winning conservation photographer Mac Stone’s photos of the Everglade. In a way only Mac can do, they help tell the story.


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