There have been two occasions lately where a photographer has taken me to task on my advice to document our natural world before it changes. Most recently, at an awards event, a photographer and naturalist contradicted this advice, and tried to explain to me that it is the "nature" of nature to be constantly changing. He implied that I was wasting my time and energy trying to get people to document a world that is going to change anyway. I disagree. Another time following a speaking engagement, I was told that there is nothing wrong with the local waterways and the biologists, scientists and general public are incorrect in their complaints that the waterways are tainted. His authority to make this statement, in his own words, stems from the fact that he has "lived here all my life." He went on to say that if I had not lived here all my life, I was unqualified to advocate for the local environment. Never mind that I am certified as a master naturalist by the University of Florida, President of our chapter, and develop and present programs on environmental ethics, and have earned an Award of Excellence from UF for my work. My words on documentation still stand. Regardless of the reason for natural change, it's true that some change is inevitable, in spite of many success stories by government and advocacy groups. As Sam Cooke said, "A change is gonna come." However, at the same time, there are many success stores - bald eagles, manatees, atala butterflies, and more. I will continue to be their voice; continue to reach out to others, especially the children, who are our future. Let us ALWAYS be aware of what our future holds so we may strive to protect and preserve it.
- Mary White