Monday, April 22, 2013

Some Environmental Progress to Report on Earth Day, 2013 -- Time to Adopt the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore

Today marks the 33rd anniversary of Earth Day, founded in 1970.

This year, our City of St. Augustine co-sponsored the (mostly rained-out) Earth Day yesterday at Willie Galimore Center, co-sponsoring it with the Lincolnville Neighborhood Association's Sunday Farmer's Market.

That's progress.  I am proud of our City today.

Our City was once no friend of the environment, no friend of history, no friend of civil rights and no friend of Lincolnville.  Today, our City is working to protect our precious historic environmental heritage for future generations, while respecting civil rights. 

Let's continue to move forward.

Tonight, our St. Augustine City Commissioners will hear a presentation, sponsored by Commissioner Donald Crichlow, on global climate change.   Our City needs to embrace and be included in the Guana-Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, and support GTM-NERR's and Anastasia State Park's inclusion in the St. Augustine National Hisorical Park and National Seashore (first proposed by two U.S. Senators and our local Congressman in 1939).  See for details.

We need to work in a bipartisan way, just as our community has done in adopting nondiscrimination and ordinances and policies adopted3by the Cities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach; Anastasia Mosquito Control District (2009) and St. Johns County Sheriff.   Support has been unanimous on every single vote in every single board (in sharp contrast to Jacksonville, which proved August 14th that intolerance is the basis for public policy).

We need to encourage U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wynden (D-Oregon); our new Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell; U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Mario Rubio, Congressman Ron DeSantis, Governor Rick Scott, State Senator John Thrasher and State Rep. "Doc" Renuart.  Make no little plans: the 500th anniversary of Spanish Florida is here, and the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine is in 2015, and the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is next year. This time, let's preserve our "sense of place" forever.

Let us preserve and protect our historic and environmental heritage forever, while saving some $32 million in operations and maintenance costs over ten years in local state parks and water management district land.  Our State of Florida can turn this land over to the National Park Service.

We want a well-run, unified National Historical Park and Seashore that will welcome our visitors with the diversity of our history -- 11,000 years of history well, including Spanish, Native American, African-American, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, British, French, Nautical, Civil War, Flagler Era and Civil Rights history, while protecting us all from erosion and floods and protecting unique wildlife, from the endangered right whale (350 left; 20 born off our shores this winter) to the Anastasia Island Beach Mouse.

Yes we can!