Florida’s Summer of Slime: Stuart and Lake Okeechobee

algae bloom
John Moran photo
For several statewide publications, I reported last month on the plight of the Caloosahatchee River and its befouled waters flowing from Lake Okeechobee; delivering slime to waterfront neighborhoods in Fort Myers and Cape Coral along the way to the Gulf Islands of Southwest Florida.
Next up on our Summer of Slime photo tour is a visit to Stuart and Lake Okeechobee…
The pictures don’t lie. We the people of Florida bear witness today to nothing less than a crime against nature, and a crime against the children who shall inherit our natural legacy.
A long time ago, Florida political leaders—Republicans and Democrats in common cause—understood there can be no healthy economy without a healthy environment. They wisely enacted laws and regulatory safeguards accordingly.
But that was then and this is now. It’s time to end the popular fiction in Florida that we can plunder and pollute our way to prosperity.
Gov. Reubin Askew said it best when he declared in 1971, “Ecological destruction is nothing less than economic suicide.”
In this, our Summer of Slime, can I get an amen?


  1. “It’s time to end the popular fiction in Florida that we can plunder and pollute our way to prosperity.”
    Hear hear. I’ve always said our environment doesn’t stand in the way of a healthy economy- it’s the backbone of one.
    All those politicians who call themselves fiscal conservatives or Tea Party “patriots” and allow the environment to be polluted in the name of “jobs”and the economy are shams. There’s nothing fiscally sound about making taxpayers pay to mitigate pollution instead of making companies pay to prevent pollution and pass the cost to their customers . Nor would a true Tea Party patriot allow that when also their big platform was that government shouldn’t pick winners and losers. In this case, they’re picking the agriculture and construction industries over the fishing and tourism industries along with many small businesses. (Of course I knew The Tea Party in Florida was mostly a sham from the get-go when they had the opportunity and the support behind them to end the subsidies to sugar but focused their energy on stopping the subsidies to solar.) But I digress.
    Otherwise, a big Amen.

  2. Amen.
    Those were the days when Askew, Chiles, Graham cared for our great state. Now, our only hope is Gwen Graham.
    If we are stuck with Putnam or DeSantis, God help us us all! WE WILL DROWN IN GREEN SLIME.
    Thank you for sending out great words of truth. The least we can do is LISTEN.

  3. I concur about Putnam and DeSantis. But don’t kid yourself about the Grahams. Population growth and economic development are at the heart of Florida’s environmental problems. Private property rights and exploitation of private property for financial gain continue to destroy the “Real Florida”. Bob Graham’s policies are responsible for a massive influx of population into Florida since his time as Governor. The Graham family owns significant property in the Miami Lakes area on the margin of the Everglades. That land is nothing like it was before they got their hands on it and exploited it for financial gain. A massive mega-mall is planned for future development on that land. Like her father, Gwen Graham advocates development and economic growth. They both advocate a consumer-driven economy: The more we consume, the better our economy. The better our economy, the better off we are. If we don’t consume, the economy suffers. (But, in fact, the less we consume, the better off the natural environment is). I believe Florida is already overdeveloped and needs a new breed of leadership. Policies like a state income tax to discourage massive population influx by baby boomers make sense. Yet, none of the candidates for Governor (Democrat and Republican included) advocates anything like this. None of them come close to what the “Real Florida” needs.

  4. Amen, indeed. Thank you, John for this article and these photos. We MUST act to save our state before it is too late.

    • Getting your stunning pictures out to everyone helps bring awareness and hopefully action! Thank you John Moran (our friend from the “Sun” days) and Mary Lou for posting.


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