South Florida Water Management District was different than I thought it
would be. For some reason, I had flashbacks to elementary school trips regarding
water management and water cleaning where all they talked about was how
precious water was. Then, they would give us a workbook with that alligator,
Freddy, who represented the work all these people did.
Of course, these memories are foggy and reconstructed,
so they are a bad way to imagine what the SFWMD really does. I found the
experience enlightening. It had never occurred to me, and I had never
really thought much about the subject, what a complex job it is to control
the water flow and quality for such a large area.
The visit this time actually taught me something.
The people who spoke to us explained the water situation, the problem we
had gotten ourselves in because of bad planning and explained what will be
done to correct these difficulties. Aside from the fact that I can actually
remember this most current visit, I also feel that I learned something. I
came away with an understanding and a respect for the job these people do.
Imagining the meteorologists and high-ranking officials being locked in
their own workplace for days because of the multiple hurricanes that
threatened us this past summer, made me realize the importance of their
success. Think about it: just pushing a button can affect the water in any
area. This is like controlling life. It's the atomic bomb.
Maybe I'm exaggerating, but maybe not. Those that
talked to us at the SFWMD took their job seriously. And they should.
I'm glad they do. All that I learned during the visit made me realize that
many things that seem inconsequential are actually groundbreaking. Now
that I think about it, maybe all jobs are quite consequential.
Everyone gets wrapped up in their world from time to
time. We all like to think that whatever we do, whether good or bad, will
cause astronomical changes. I've always wondered whether we put way too
much stock on our tiny actions. Will my decision to go to some party
really cause tiny ripples in the fabric of life that will have far-reaching
consequences? I seriously doubt it. But maybe for those that work in
water management this is not the case. Any decision they make, whether it
is as simple as closing the valve in a canal, or as complicated as
attempting to fix water flow to the Everglades, will undoubtedly impact
South Florida. It will affect how and from where we get our water and it
will ultimately affect the environment we live in.
It would be nice to think that despite our small size
in comparison to the universe, we are actually important. I'm certain that
if this were the case, many people would feel as if they actually had a
purpose in life. It would help us stop meandering in our existence and
actually invest our time and energy in enterprises that will ultimately
better mankind, the world and the universe.
This is something my journalism professors have been
telling me. "You can write an article and uncover some important truth.
It could change people's lives." I believed them because it is the truth.
My articles can help people. Other professions can also affect people.
Doctors, lawyers, scientists all these people can help make the world a
better place. But what about a secretary or a waiter? Can they change the
According to my newfound optimism the answer is yes.
It doesn't matter that these jobs provide a service. If a secretary can
help his boss think of better ideas, then the secretary can change the
world. If a waiter brings a little sparkle into the otherwise drab day of
a customer, then that customer can go on and spread that sparkle into the
Am I being too optimistic or too general? Perhaps,
but I don't care. I'm young; I should be able to be naively optimistic.
And all these ideas simply came from listening to people talk about how
they distribute and manage the water in South Florida. Their new projects
are ambitious, but necessary to restore the natural flow to the Everglades.
This ecosystem has been altered by too many people for
too many years. I think that regardless of how ambitious or costly the
project is, it should be done. I personally found it refreshing to meet a
group of people so dedicated to their "mission". After all, this world is
filled with too many people who have given up hope and who don't care what
happens to what and who around them.
I believe that the people we met really believe in
their cause, but I realize that there may be other people and perhaps
companies and corporations who are out for themselves and could really
care less about how their actions impact the world. This is why we need
more people who are interested in the environment and in making the world
habitable for everyone.
People are too busy living their lives and struggling
to survive in this world, which is quickly becoming far too image-conscious
for my liking, that they don't have time to even think about how it is that
all these wonderful products, food and water are heading their way.
I think that a visit to the SFWMD will open up their
eyes. At least, it affected me in this way. The visit has driven me into
a frenzied contemplative mood. Listening to the employees at the water
management district and hearing the echo of my professor's words has
suddenly inspired me to use my abilities to help whoever I can. Covering
events and city council meetings may have dulled my journalistic radar,
but from now on I will be on the lookout for strong ideas and occurrences
that will somehow make an impact on people all the way from South Florida