Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

November 22, 2014

Deadly Silence

Hide baby, you’re safe, for now!
Picture credit:

Try to picture this scene.
You are strolling along a path in the lovely, tranquil Ocala Forest of Central Florida, walking with your wife/husband and children, when suddenly without warning, you are shot, perhaps killed.
There had not been a sound.
So, how did this tragedy happen and why?
I will explain in a minute.
Now also imagine driving along the familiar road you always take to go into town to the store and you happen upon a group of people and their vehicles pulled over and parked on the shoulder of the road.
They are all, either standing, or sitting, on the hoods or roofs of their trucks.
And what are they doing you ask?
Well, don’t be silly, they are shooting their rifles into the woods at animals.
These are Florida Hunters.
Yes, we are smack in the middle of Florida Deer Hunting Season right now.
But, this is nothing new, this sickening scene is repeated here every single Hunting Season.
So, what is different about now?
Now, these Hunters shooting into the woods all around us, can legally use silencers on their rifles when they hunt.
Because the State of Florida, aka FFWC, has just given them permission to do so.
This was done at a meeting that just took place way down south, where not many people apparently bothered to travel to, to voice their thoughts.
As if it wasn’t already dangerous enough that these idiots are firing from their vehicles into the woods,  where  they cannot possibly see clearly enough, or  far enough, to be sure, or safe, they can now carry out this insanity using a silencer, so that no one in the woods where they are shooting, will even know that they are about to be shot and possibly even be killed.
Can you imagine how far an errant bullet can go in the woods?
And now no one will even know it is happening!
The NRA and Hunters are as to be expected, simply giddy over this.
Now Florida Hunters, can be just like the 32 other states in America, that also allow this insanity.
I only have one question.
What are these people ingesting?
Oh wait, marijuana has not been approved to be used here, so that can’t be it.
I give up.
The State of Florida once again, defies all reason or sanity.
That’s all folks…
Florida’s Hunters, will now and forver after, be killing in deadly silence.
Places to learn more:
2014-2015 Florida Hunting Season Dates
Florida approves silencers for game hunting
Florida set to end ban on silencers for game hunters
BREAKING: Florida FWC removes ban on suppressors for hunting
Silencers, coyotes and waterways: Letters

November 20, 2014

No Means No!

Protestors at the White House
Picture credit: chesapeakeclimate

Just in case you have not yet heard, as you were on an extended out of the country journey,  or what ever.
The Keystone Pipeline, although approved by the House last week, was just rejected by the United States Senate.
You heard right, it failed to win approval.
Is this permanent, probably not, but even a tiny or temporary victory in this David and Goliath face off,  feels so good!
Of course those who desperately wanted this passed,  will very soon gather together and push even harder to get it done the next time.
And considering what just happened in the elections with the Republicans now controlling everything, it WILL come up again and soon.
But in the meantime, we, that is you and me, can congratulate each other for a fight, a battle of nearly Biblical proportions,  very well done.
The ball has now been passed to President Obama.
If you have  a spare moment, you might want to sign one of the many letters asking him to do what the American people have made quite clear that they want.
I would so love to be a fly on the wall at the Koch Brothers Headquarters today!
For what seems like forever, this monster issue has been all over social media and especially on FB and WordPress.
As have millions of others, I have signed, called and written about this disastrous plan endlessly.
To quote the NRDC:   ” The Keystone pipeline  is all risk and no benefit for the Americans. “
We never gave up, or gave in and as of right this moment, we the people, those who do not want this nightmare running across our country and through the heartlands of America.
The potential hazards in this are of monumental proportions and the numbers of wild animals and wild places that would suffer from this pipeline are endless.
The Ogallala Aquifer and many other critical water sources for millions of Americans were my particular concern.
As a beloved Geology Professor once said, ” Once water is poisoned, it can take as long as 10,000 years to clean it up.”
This greedy group and their backers have shown so little respect for America’s primary water supplies, as they selfishly pushed hard for years to shove this down our throats.
The company has a very poor track record when it comes to leaks and failures, so why one Earth should they ever be allowed to cross this country and put us all at risk of losing our precious life-giving water?
So, on this joyful day, I am so proud of all of you who fought so hard to stop this.
It is and was, a job well done.
They did their best to break us down and dismiss our demands to reject.
This time money, political power and influence did not win.
The American people did and you can bet that those who just spent a fortune trying to do this, are right this minute collecting their thoughts and funds and getting ready to do battle once again with all of us.
Too many wealthy, powerful people,  have way too much invested in this to allow us, the people, to defeat this and them.
But for now, we have, in no uncertain terms, in a loud clear, unified American voice said:
No Means No!
Places to learn more:
Native Americans Arrested Following Keystone XL Pipeline Vote
Breaking: Senate Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline
TransCanada Plots Dirty PR Campaign to Push New Pipeline
Senate Rejects Bid to Force Approval of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline
Victory for Environmentalists: Senate Narrowly Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline 

November 10, 2014

Power, Panthers, People: Who Will Win?

The magnificent Florida Panther
Photo credit:

The magnificent Florida Panther is without a doubt, the most critically Endangered animal in America, with only 100 or so, still alive today.
This is a sickening fact to repeat here, as they once were everywhere in the Southern United States.
One by one, various Companies have declared war on the land or habitats that the much beloved, beleaguered Panther clings to in its never-ending struggle to survive the ravages of ignorant, selfish and uncaring Humans.
First there was the threat of fracking and now Florida Power and  Light wants to take more land and even more water away from this beautiful Florida treasure.
Animals activists,  FWS and others have been trying to stop the threatening energy exploration and expansion into this fragile habitat for years, but with each step forward, they are ultimately pushed back two.
The Power Companies like Florida Power and Light and the mega monster Duke Energy, which just gobbled up Progress Energy and may likely eventually do the same with FPL,  are running serious campaigns here,  to get every drop of energy out of the land, despite the corpses that will surely  be left behind.
If this happens and Duke Energy does buy them out, they have way too many resources in their very deep pockets, so  it looks like a gloomy future for any, or all,  who choose to  oppose them.
One of the most beautiful parts of Florida has now become a battle ground and the next victim may be the magnificent, pristine Big Cypress.
The big Power Companies, especially Duke, have lobbyists, lawyers and legislators on their side, the Seminoles, Panthers and Orchids, have only a fraction of the money necessary to even stand a chance.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida in their effort to protect themselves and the Panther, have become the latest  champion and partner in what has become a fight for all of their survivals.
Yes, the Tribe has an agreement with the USFWS to do just that, but there is so much more going on here, than just honoring an agreement with a Government Agency.
What Florida Power and Light wants to do next, is to build a new power plant just north of the Reservation, which is also next to the Big Cypress.
Every living thing around this hotly debated area could be put in great peril.
If this Power Plant is allowed to be completed, aside from the obvious damage to the Wildlife, Wild Plants, Environment and Indigenous Culture of the people, this plant will also use 22 million gallons of water, every single day, which will be devastating news for all concerned.
The highly cherished,  fragile Ghost Orchid  also lives in the swamps near this affected area and the thought  of killing it outright or through poisoning,  or depletion of its life-giving water, is absolutely unacceptable.
Whether the Seminoles or the Power Companies will win this war is unknown, but for the Panther, this may just be their very last chance.
Power, Panthers, People: Who Will Win?
Places to learn more:
Seminoles fight to save Florida Panther
The Panthers
The Seminole Tribe
The Ghost Orchid
Big Cypress

November 7, 2014

269: Please, Remember This Number

An innocent  Baby Calf
Picture credit: Wikipedia


Many years ago when my daughter was quite young, we happened to be at a place where an ugly truth was just feet away from where we spent the night.
It was in a tiny town in North Central California and what happened there that night changed her life and my life forever.
Being the precocious child that she was, she had wandered around the area and come across a few cows that she was gleefully admiring.
I walked over to retrieve her and a man approached us.
He seemed kind,  so we stopped to talk to him.
What he said broke our hearts and neither of us have ever really recovered.
He told us about the baby calf just inside the barn where we were standing and what was soon to happen to it.
I am sure you already  know how Veal is made, so I will not  go into any details here.
With this tragic night in mind, just now an email directed me to a place that brought back those horrific memories and I was compelled to pass this site on to any of you who may,  perhaps feel as we do.
Veal is despicable.
It comes from the torture of a baby calf.
I do not wish to say more here, you will learn more soon enough by going to this place and seeing what they are trying to do, or stop.
I wish them every success in the world, because you see, it will take a Global Effort to change people’s minds and hearts.
Millions of people everywhere, absolutely  love this meat and relish eating it, on a regular basis.
Since that awful night so many years ago, I have told anyone who would listen, why they should never buy, or eat Veal.
This group and their message and intentions are very, very powerful.
But, this is exactly the kind of strength that it will take to reverse and end such a horrific  crime against these innocents.
I hope that you will take a look and pass it on if you agree.
If enough of us take a stand for them and say no, perhaps one day, very soon, no other baby calf’s will have to be tortured and murdered.
I am asking you to share this, we are their only hope.
We are a powerful voice and we will not be denied.
269: Please, Remember This Number!
Places to learn more:
269 – The Web site
269 on Facebook

November 5, 2014

We Are All One America

Staff of President Clinton’s One America Initiative, the Initiative on Race
Picture credit: Public Domain

Watching the returns for Florida last night was a mixed blessing.
Most importantly to us, Amendment One passed with 75% of the voters in this state approving it.
And thankfully, the elections are over and the dirty nasty commercials are all gone, at least until 2016.
The mixed in this blessing, is that any gains won overnight with the passing of this Amendment and its promise of protecting wildlife, could potentially soon be erased, or at the very least,  at the mercy in the next few years, of the new powers to be.
People all over this country are angry, at anyone and everyone in public office.
I, we,  do not blame them.
So are we.
Our anger is about the way that this state is being run and those in power here who seem to care little for the things that we value most.
But trying  to blame everything that is wrong in this country right now on our President,  is wasting time and energy and getting us all nowhere.
What is wrong in America,  is NOT all Obama’s fault.
There  is plenty of blame to go around.
We are all guilty,  one way or another.
Those in Washington, who fail repeatedly to do their jobs.
Those voters who whine and complain, yet do not vote.
Those who write big checks to buy a result for their own personal financial gain.
Plenty of guilt,  plenty of blame to be shared.
When no one does the right thing, we all end up with the wrong thing.
Last night’s total political flogging  and the resultant prospect of having the country completely run by a single party,  may not bode well for the things that many of us care  deeply about.
So, for the next two years, Walkingfox and I, as well as many of you, will try our best to watch over those with no voice and keep them from harm.
It is not right for animals and wild places to suffer because people want to make a point, to send a message.
But they are throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Florida and the Country need a lot of fixing and it will take both sides, no, all sides, all of us in America working together to fix it.
As long as we keep blaming each other, nothing will ever get better, it will just continue hurting us all.
Pushing us farther apart and still getting nothing done.
I keep remembering the words that Gandhi said to the father who had lost his child to an enemy.
Gandhi told the man filled with hate to go and find a child of those who had killed his and to raise it as his own, but that he must raise it in the culture and religion of those who killed his child.
If America is ever to recover from this basement, this cesspool of shame and blame that we have fallen into, we must reach out to one another  and try to not only understand, but  more importantly,  to accept our individual uniquenesses.
Those glorious things that make us all so special.
We are not simply Democrats or Republicans,  or any political party.
We are all different, we are all the same, we are One America.

November 1, 2014

Please Say Yes to Amendment One

The Everglades, an exquisite Florida Natural Area
Photo credit: sfwmd.gov

On Election Day next Tuesday here in Florida,  although not everyone will be on board, or be all that terribly concerned, a very critical Amendment is on the Ballot and it is not about who will be our next Governor.
It is about protecting the most perfect, precious commodities that this state has, its wildlife, beautiful land and water.
This Amendment will provide a great deal of funding for our water, land, habitat and wildlife protection, for now and many  years to come, through the Florida Forever Program.
Florida has thousands, perhaps millions of acres of open and free spaces that must be protected for future generations.
And this Amendment, if it passes, will protect what many of us treasure most here, for the next 20 years.
Money collected will go to protect the Everglades, State Water Sources, as well as land and wild life habitats all over the state.
And there will be NO tax increases to pay for it.
It will be paid for with money collected on the  excise taxes on documents.
The Amendment is sponsored by the Florida Water and Land Legacy and needs a 60% voter approval to pass.
What this Amendment will protect is basically everything that makes this state the natural wonder that it is.
The wild life, the wild land and the pure clean water.
Mayor’s from six of this state’s biggest cities, have called for the Amendment to be approved.
The good it can and will do for Florida, stretches from the Keys to both Coasts and includes, the very needy Everglades, which will get a big boost as well.
Something that would make Marjory smile, as  she fought hard to preserve them all of her life.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas 1965
Marjory Stoneman Douglas with a
Miccosukee Tribe member in 1965
Photo credit: Florida State Archives

Places to learn more:
Big stake for Keys on land question
Six Florida mayors announce support for Amendment
Editorial: Yes on Amendment 1
Amendment One a no-brainer for Florida
Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative, Amendment
Amendment 1 Aims to Aid Conservation Efforts