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Honk for clean water

September 16, 2015
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

One by one. Day by day. We will continue to stand united for our waterways!

Each day.?A different person(s).?For at least one straight month. On top of the Fort Myers Beach bridge.?At 9 am everyday, we stand as members of the SWFL CLEAN WATER MOVEMENT and citizens of our community for an ongoing act of awareness demonstration against the harmful and unnatural releases of toxic and contaminated water from Lake Okeechobee right smack dab into our local watersheds.?As each day goes by, we ask of yet another person(s) with their own sign to meet at the very tippy top of the bridge at 9 a.m. to show one by one, day by day, we stand united for our waterways!

We are doing this as a community, by our community and for our community. We are asking that our town hall and mayor create educational brochures, informational sources and an explanation to our billion dollar tourism industry who ask all of us: "Why does the water look like that?"?

This attempt at one straight month, each day, for one hour, rain or shine, an ongoing demonstration, is a direct response to the history of informational neglect, while ignoring the elephant in the room that is the Lake O discharges by our Southwest Florida political arena at large. We choose not to ignore it. We believe education is the most important piece to the excessive fresh water releases that turn our Gulf beach waters brown and toxic at times. We believe information should be provided by the Town of Fort Myers Beach and at the ready for when tourists check into our local resorts, dine in our eateries, share a spirit at our local pubs, shop in our stores, or hit our local beaches, and ask "why."?

A form of "Pardon our mess" gesture always goes well when there is indeed a "mess" involved in anyone's vacation just about everywhere in the world and we all know that it can be quite the "mess" sometimes locally with the results of the discharges that are released from Lake Okeechobee, down the Caloosahatchee River, and straight into the Gulf of Mexico on Fort Myers Beach, Florida.?We are ground zero of the Lake O discharges, in fact.?Our area traditionally receives over 75 percent of the shared releases, to the 20 to 25 percent maximum discharges to the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River on the east coast of Florida. ?

The Caloosahatchee River was deemed one of the 10 most critically damaged rivers in the United States just a few years ago.?The pollution sent downstream into Gulf beaches jeopardizes our billion dollar tourism industry at large.?We all should be outraged!?If your not, then your not paying attention. For far too long now we have tried to ignore this very real ecological disaster through a form of optical illusions known as: COLLECTIVE MYOPIA!?Turning a blind eye to an ecological disaster does not mean it does not at all exist. It is also very obvious to us as a community that if we choose to do nothing then we too are a part of the problem. Get involved!

Everyday, I personally will be up there with a sign for clean water as a basic human right at 9 a.m.?On the days of which that no one decides to join up, I then will stand an extra hour for that missing person of that day. As of today (Monday), we have been out there straight through, with a different person each day, for one full week.

We will be out there everyday for as long as it shall take for immediate action by the entire town hall staff and council to create a "pardon our mess" Lake O discharges informational damage control plan, both online and in person with educational literature.?So far, we thank the seven folks who came out to fill the first week of community involvement to say no to the Lake O flow. As we look forward to seeing many more of you each day who decide to stand up for our waterways and beach. You're all more than welcome to attend any day of the weeks that go by in support or as often as you like to. We are sending a very clear message that each one of our voices matter as a community standing up for the same very waters that we survive off of being a 100 percent tourism based town. This 100% tourism based town is all of us as FMB.?If we choose not to stand up to protect it, who will??Take a stand for clean water as a basic human right and to end the Lake O discharges.?To view constant updates, coverages, pics, and conversation about this act, visit the "swfl clean water movement" on FaceBook.?We really hope to see so many different people up there each day. We've had families, younger folks, older folks, and all in between already attend each day of the ongoing, everyday, month-long demonstrations as the moral support of the people who drive by and hit horns and wave back has been incredible to say the least.?We invite all to save Fort Myers Beach!?Take a stand for clean water on top of the bridge as we string together at least one full month, one by one, day by day, untied for our waterways!

John G Heim?

2014 U.S river champion award recipient

Fort Myers Beach



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