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March 03, 2006


Joe Browder

If you were to read Grunwald's book I think you might find a lot to respect in his history and analysis. Nothing at all like Marjory's book, nothing at all (thank goodness) like Hodding Carter's error-filled purple haze. I've worked on Everglades issues since 1961, and to me Grunwald's book is the best yet written about Everglades -- certainly the best book about how our societal/political/economy mythology relates to the reality of government's role in rewarding dreamers and scoundrels at the expense of nature and the taxpayer.


I'm sure that Grunwald's book is better. In fact, I plan to buy it to read on a long plane flight I'm taking tomorrow. But the basic narrative, as described through the reviews and interviews I've read, seems to fall into a traditional "nature despoiled by rapacious greed and arrogant ignorance" narrrative.

It's a powerful narrative, and one that the Everglades has more right to than most topics (except for maybe the Aral Sea). But it is a narrative that has started to feel more hopeless than hopeful to me.

I don't know if you read the St. Pete's Times extensive coverage last year about disappearing wetlands in Florida.


(Scroll down to May 2005.)

Similar narrative concepts overarched it. But i was showing the pages to a friend, who read the story about the satellite data, and said to me, "84,000 acres doesn't seem like that much disappearing land."

What can you say to that? (A lot, obviously, but what can you effectively say?)

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