Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Everglades EarthFirst! is having a protest this Friday in Palm Beach Gardens from 4:30 to 6:30

Did you ever wonder what it is like to join a protest? You can dig out your old jeans and tie dye T-shirt and take a selfie or three. You might even get your picture in the Palm Beach Post or an action shot on Channel 12 (WPEC)! You can rub elbows with some of the elite of our Anarchist community! Continue reading, details to follow later.

Everglades EarthFirst! (EEF), the protest organizer, likes to do artwork promoting their protests. Here is their artwork promoting the Actions on December 5th and December 12th:
Here is the art produced by "Kat Eng" promoting the protest this Friday, January 9th:
The Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is a crucial, iconic animal for EEF as they fight to stop Scripps and the biotech industry in the Palm Beach Gardens Briger Tract. I was able to find interesting information about the Gopher Tortoise at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Gopher Tortoise is a "threatened" species in Louisiana, Mississippi, and parts of Alabama. However, the Gopher Tortoise is only a "candidate" for protection in eastern Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The Gopher Tortoise is doing relatively well in our neck of the woods in south Florida. There are established relocation requirements for greenfield sorts of development for the species. Many suffer from a specific, lethal virus and are even administered blood tests at times so that resources are not wasted moving sick turtles that have a shorter life span.

If the Gopher Tortoise is important to the folks at EEF, shouldn't they be moving their operation to Louisiana, Mississippi, and western Alabama? But I digress, more on the protest this Friday:
Activists and concerned citizens from all around will be gathering from 4:30-6:30 on January 9th, at Donald Ross and Central Ave in Palm Beach Gardens [see map below] to help save this forest from the corporate interests who fail to see its value and beauty.
This 681 acres is currently home to several threatened and endangered species, including the gopher tortoise and snowy egret. It is slated to become home to more strips malls, more residential units and a biotech city complete with animal testing labs.
This is a new one to me, the Snowy Egret. I could be wrong but don't think EEF has ever mentioned the Snowy Egret before. If I am wrong, I apologize. The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is a species of "Least Concern" of protection and notes that "[T]he population trend [of Snowy Egrets] appears to be increasing".

Back to the planned protest. Here is more about the protest from EEF on Friday:
In its current state, the Briger Forest is an uncommonly large and valuable piece of habitat, boasting an ecosystem that is the last of its kind in this area. It is the home to several species under threat of extinction, including the gopher tortoise and hand fern.

However, after much controversy, the Scripps Research Institute is looking to fulfill their dream of a commercial/residential offshoot of their facility on Florida Atlantic University’s FAU campus— by bulldozing one of the largest tracts of intact forest remaining in southeastern Florida.

But we can stop it! There are several legal challenges being pursued, so let’s keep the pressure on and let them know we still care!

EEF says " 'YES' TO THE WILD!" If you plan on joining the protest with EEF on Friday, note the Briger Tract is not exactly "THE WILD". You're never going to see an episode of Survivorman in the Briger Tract as professional Les Stroud goes with, "No food, no shelter, no fresh water, no tools" with the ever-present traffic noise of I-95 and the clatter of dishes and smell of hot wings at the nearby Hurricane Grill.

And lets be clear. There are designated preservation areas that are part of the approved plan.

Of course we all wish the EEF "leader" (horizontal as the organization may be) and Anarchist Panagioti Tsolkas the best. For years now, he's sacrificed and fought to save the Briger "Forest". With most efforts such as these public perception is everything and a misstep can be catastrophic. When a member of EEF threw a vehicle battery into a nearby lake at their first protest on November 7, 2014, can see how the simplest misstep can have devastating consequences.

If you do attend the protest by EEF please send me some pictures, please! Let's wish everyone involved good luck on Friday and don't forget to check out the Tropical Smoothies just down the street (see map above) afterwards.
And here is a great bike route to get there so you don't have to worry about your carbon footprint there and back. This eliminates the parking problem too. Make sure you have working lights; white in front and red in the rear.