The Everglades are one of those things we value in the abstract, like the great whales. We go “tsk, tsk” when we hear about their impending extinction, but since we don’t really see them very often, saving them gets lost in the welter of more clamorous needs.
Besides, we tend to pay more attention to events like wildfires, which provide compelling TV visuals. The whales and the Everglades are dying slowly. This doesn't make for tremendously entertaining viewing.
If it weren’t for conservation groups, the ‘Glades wouldn’t have a constituency at all. Alligators, mosquitoes and snakes are not lovable creatures. The plant life is⎯let’s face it⎯nowhere near as majestic and stately as an old-growth forest.
The fact that we need the Everglades to guarantee South Florida’s supply of fresh water is lost on many people. “I thought that’s what Lake Okeechobee was for,” many say. They don’t realize that the ‘Glades act as an enormous filter to take out the crud we pump into them from upstream.
The average South Floridian isn’t really going to care about the Everglades until he turns on his tap--and instead of drinking water, he gets a foul smelling, yellow-greenish liquid he’s expected to consume and bathe in.
Wait a second. That’s happening already.
Oh, well...maybe there's a wildfire to watch on TV.