Tuesday, February 24, 2015

RALLY CRY: Amendment 1 is not your slush fund!

What do we want?  Clean water!  How do we get it?  Buy the land!
“Amendment 1 is not your slush fund!”
“Buy the land!  Send water south!

These are some of the loudest chants heard on February 18, when 400 activists gathered together at the Floridians for Clean Water & Amendment 1 Rally on the Historic Front Steps of the Capitol Building in Tallahassee. The crowds delivered a resounding message to the Governor and the legislature:

1. Protecting conservation lands is essential to protecting our water resources – we must protect our waters at the source;
2. We must invest in our undeveloped natural areas before they are gone; and
3. We must stop pollution at its source rather than allowing it to enter our waterways.

The historic convergence was a collaboration between the 150 organization-strong Floridians'
Clean Water Declaration Campaign Coalition and the Florida's Water & Land Legacy
Coalition which succeeded in getting the “Amendment 1” land and water conservation constitutional
amendment passed by 75% of Florida voters last November.

Five buses stopped in ten cities across Florida to pick up close to two hundred activists for a trip to Tallahassee for the day (bus rides were between seven and three hours long one-way)!  Others came by carpool and air from as close as the Panhandle and as far as the Florida Keys.  Rally goers and speakers came from every region of the state and represented water quality, land conservation, and wildlife conservation organizations; twenty-six speakers and eight St. Lucie River Kidz filled the two-hour agenda.

After the rally the crowd spread out over the Capitol to talk water
and public lands with decision makers.

Photos can be accessed here and here.  The event received an enormous level of press attention - see here for 20 plus media  hits (that keep on coming).

Aliki Moncrief (Florida's Water & Land Legacy) - MODERATOR
Ryan Smart (1000 Friends of Florida) - MODERATOR
Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda - (Florida House of Representatives)
Estus Whitfield (Florida Conservation Coalition)
Bill McCollum (Florida Attorney General)
Rep. Mark Pafford (Minority Leader in the Florida House of Representatives)
Jim Stevenson (Wakulla Springs Alliance, Tallahassee)
Preston Robertson (Florida Wildlife Federation, Tallahassee)
Kevin McGorty (Tall Timbers Land Conservancy, Tallahassee)
Shannon Blankinship (St. Johns Riverkeeper and Duval County Soil and Water
Conservation Commission, Jacksonville)

Eric Rollings (Orange County Soil & Water Conservation District)
Laura Dailey (Spectrabusters, Fort White)

Bob Knight (Florida Springs Institute, Gainesville)
Gary Appelson (Sea Turtle Conservancy, Gainesville)
Chuck O’Neal (League of Women Voters of Florida, Orlando)
Dawn Shirreffs (Everglades Foundation, Palmetto Bay)
Katie Tripp (Save the Manatee Club, Maitland)
Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez (Florida House of Representatives)
Leesa Suoto (Marine Resources Council,
Palm Bay)
Cathy Harrelson (Sierra Club, St. Petersburg)
Andy Mele (Suncoast Waterkeeper, Sarasota)
Maggy Hurchalla (Martin County Conservation Alliance)
Mark Perry (Florida Oceanographic Society, Stuart)
Celeste De Palma (Tropical Audubon, Miami)
Millard McCleary (Reef Relief, Key West)
John Scott (Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association – Riverwatch, Ft. Myers)

-- Cris Costello, Senior Organizer, Sierra Club