Copypasta from FARK. Slightly cleaned up for formatting.
Rik01 4 hours ago
Folks have heard me biatch about changes in my own city in the State of Florida -- and changes in the State itself. Basically the response has been (1) progress old man, (2) change the onion on your belt, (3) yelling at clouds, (4) who cares -- it's Floraduh!
However, these changes have been going on in other states.
I've watched politicians promise Eco-improvements with one hand and sell the voters down the river with the other. [For example] We had a massive oyster bed in the Indian River placed off limits to the public for preservation and ecological reasons for close to 20 years. That thing had huge oysters in it and the water in its cove was nearly crystal clear. The local police arrested scores of people sneaking down there to poach oysters and the shores were dotted with piles of empty shells. The cove was absolutely packed with the things, no river bottom exposed. Then, during the Housing Boom, an upscale development went it around it. Since the cove was too shallow for wealthy owners to park their boats at the planned docks behind the cove-side homes, it was dredged. No warning to anyone who wanted to get these delicious oysters. Dredges came in, ripped thousands of them out and disposed of them. The cove is now full of dark water and few oysters, making a lot of folks like myself wonder why we preserved them.
Water use in the state has quadrupled. Florida used to be very swampy, but the water table was shallow. Now, after sucking so much out and changing the lay of the land, plus paving over every square inch they could, we're the capitol of the US when it comes to sink holes. Water shortages began to pop up years ago, where before, we never had any.
Millions of acres of wild woods have been developed, endangering a host of native species of animals we used to have and the amount of fish in the rivers has diminished to the point that you need a license and a fishing season for Mullet -- once so plentiful that it was considered 'garbage fish' and caught mainly for bait. Within the last 40 years, the Indian River has to be closed to shellfish harvesting and fishing periodically during the summer because of massive human fecal bacteria contamination.
The previously crystal clear air of my seaside town now shows signs of grey pollution. They stopped dump burning ages ago, along with burning huge piles of used tires. Land clearing agencies have to use these massive air blowers that surround burn pits to burn stumps and brush with, creating a hotter, less smoke making fires. However, the local traffic, even with more eco-friendly cars, has quadrupled and quadrupled again. Their lesser pollution has, by the sheer weight of volume, has surpassed that which was present in times of less pollution control, when you used to have 'smokers' rolling down the roads.
Major advertising campaigns have convinced the public that instead of one or two cars per family, everyone except the dog needs one, plus a couple of ATVs, a boat and a couple of those fast, small watercraft good for nothing except going fast on the water and making a lot of noise. Prior to that, dirt bikes were the thing, tearing up thousands of acres of wild woods and chasing out local animals for fun. To round things out for the macho man, we have air boats, running on aircraft engines, no mufflers, tearing up the diminishing acres of wild swamps and annoying the crap out of neighbors when the owners 'test' them in their yards.
We have fewer forest fires than when I was a kid, thanks to sophisticated fire equipment -- but then again, the acres of undeveloped woods has fallen by 3/4, so there's less to burn. Where lightening would hit decades old pine trees and forest floors thick with dry pine needles, it hits houses, paved streets, power poles and grassy lawns.
My yard has an 'old growth' pine in it. Around 60 feet tall and nearly three feet around. It was 6 feet tall when we moved in around 1958. Across the street used to be a forest of even older trees, around two miles square. Some reached 100 feet tall. That area is now made up of a couple of housing developments. 98% of the trees are gone.
The main drainage ditch in front of my home, which was shaded by Oaks along the banks, was more like a shallow creek, brimming with clear water, frogs, colorful minnows, several types of turtles -- including the irritable snapper -- gar fish and other freshwater versions. Us kids played in it, sheltered from the hot summer sun. Now it's a deep, sluggish stream of dark water, covered by algae, few minnows and most of the Oaks were removed when the housing developments went in. Their 'salvage ponds' drain into it. Even if I was a kid, I wouldn't want to play in that mess.
Yet according to statistics, we need more homes because rents are too high because people can't buy homes whose prices nearly doubled due to the Housing Boom.
We had a landmark here made by a great old man called Ralph Waldo Sexton, who did much for the community with his wealth and eccentric ideas. The land was deeded to the city with the restriction that it never be town down. The city agreed -- until explosive development hit and a business needed the tiny patch of land to add to it's parking lot. The city had let the landmark deteriorate anyhow (known as Sexton's Mountain) and as the value of the Oceanside land soared, that plot became worth much more than the hand built land mark.
They sold it and it was plowed under and paved over. Adding to the destruction of the beach itself from over development. Even the Great Red Land-crab Migration, that used to cover blocks in hundreds of thousands of the small crustations, covering the land for blocks in nearly a solid wave has stopped.
Their nests on a swampy salt marsh have been plowed under as houses went up and covered every square foot, which means a lot of cranes and other animals who fed on them are gone also. Plus their holes helped the ground absorb rain water, which filtered into the aquifer -- those hundreds of thousands of gallons of which now roll off the paved streets and manicured lawns and harder fill into the salt marsh waters and out into the sea.
Each time a politician enacts an eco-friendly program, he quietly passes two which undermine the efforts of the first and benefits development companies or other businessmen. When we had a good city manager who was not thrilled with explosive development, he didn't last long. Appointed by the Mayor, he was removed and his replacement arrived, all hyper about explosive development.
So, now you all can see the nationwide results -- and it ain't gonna stop anytime soon. We protected the birds -- and they tore down the forests. Gopher turtle nests could stop a development -- until no one noticed them until after the bulldozers had plowed them under. We built a huge, new eco-friendly dump, closing all of the others -- and then they had to sink huge pipes into it to vent the not-so-eco-friendly methane gas, making no attempt to even capture, compress it and use it. (You can smell our dump long before you see it.) Around the 4th of july, dump managers are secretly terrified some kids with fireworks might manage to ignite some of those vapor spilling pipes.
Crime, illness, irritability and cost have soared within my city. We went from a small Mayberry-type jail to a fortress-like prison, plus built a sprawling juvenile facility. Where you could walk the streets at late night with no fear, you need to go in groups now. Home burglaries have just soared. (I even got hit, for the first time in over 50 years.) We had 4 good schools. Now we have about 10 mediocre ones and they have chain link fences around them. Kids are no longer allowed to play on the exercise fields during summer vacation. Shootings are on the rise.
The cost of living keeps climbing. More and more funds are needed to keep the infrastructure going to maintain the city and county, while they keep reducing benefits for the workers who do the actual work. We now spend millions a year on keeping our beaches nice -- something they did for just a few thousand 30 years ago when thousands of folks didn't tear them up and build right up against them.
BTW, rents here are just obnoxious, unless you want to live in a place made up of termites and roaches holding hands. We were also a major citrus provider -- but the majority of the old, labor intensive groves which produced magnificent fruit have been sold and housing developments put in their place. (It takes 4 years of work to prepare the ground for citrus saplings then another 4 years to harvest good fruit. Working in a grove for the summer was almost every high school kids rite of passage. Old, established groves were gold mines.)
I once reported a new Sea Turtle Nest I found on a beach, not wanting the heavy, tractor-like sand groomers (yeah, we have to have those now) to roll over it and crush the eggs. The response I got from the Federal and State agency I contacted was 'what do you want us to do about it?' Yet had I dug up the eggs to move them, cops would have popped out of the weeds to arrest and fine me.
I think the beach groomers crushed the nest.