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  • Writer's pictureBill Chambers

Protecting Paradise?

A Day in the Life

Well, as with most things even slightly related to technology, I’m way behind the curve. Blogs have been around for many years now and, here I am, just publishing my first blog entry. What can I say? I’m a techno-dud, LOL…

With your indulgence, please allow me to introduce myself. I was born and reared in Alabama, but now live in beautiful northwest Florida. I first began taking pictures during high school, in the 1960’s, using a Mamiya Seykor 35mm film camera which I “borrowed” from Dad. The pictures I took were far from being good but they did capture some wonderful memories and adventures. I continued along, shooting as a hobbyist for many years until finally deciding to become serious about photography in the late 1990’s. I’ve spent a large portion of my life outdoors, growing up hunting and fishing on our family farm in Alabama and becoming involved in underwater cave exploration in the late 1960’s and 70’s. That experience is what introduced me to the incredible natural beauty that Florida has to offer. Florida has more springs than anywhere in the world and is also rich in swamps, marshes, and beaches. Sadly, development has taken its toll on much of Florida’s natural environment, and that which remains is in peril. I try to concentrate my photographic efforts in two directions; showing the natural beauty of this wonderful state and, at the same time, using photography to capture what we are losing to poor development decisions, the damage to our aquifer caused by mining operations and big agriculture, over-population, weak environmental laws, and the lack of political will to protect our state.

I am an ardent conservationist because I have witnessed first-hand the decline of the natural resources in my adopted state. Springs that were once crystal clear and full of fish and beautiful greenery are now cloudy and full of algae. Many springs have massively reduced flows or have even stopped flowing altogether. Wakulla Springs, one of the largest springs in the state, used to be clear and pristine. Currently, the visibility is so poor that the glass-bottom boats haven’t run in years. Nitrate pollution, caused by over fertilization and leaking septic tank systems have polluted Wakulla and most other springs within our state, even though some are far removed from development. Florida’s aquifer is incredibly fragile due to the fact that so much of Florida is comprised of limestone, much of it weakened and rotten by natural processes over millions of years. Florida’s underground resembles Swiss cheese in that it’s very porous and contains massive open areas underground. These water filled voids contain the drinking water for our state, but they are being dramatically affected by over-pumping, mining waste, human waste disposal, wetland destruction, fertilization of home, golf courses, and farms, and other man-made causes.

Our human legacy?

There are many devoted people and groups fighting to protect our state, our nation, and our planet from unwise decisions and choices. There is room for both growth and protection, but intelligent growth comes with a price tag. We, as citizens, must stand up and recognize our responsibility to pay our fair share for intelligent growth. Nothing is free. We will all pay in one form or another. I would much rather pay in advance for intelligent growth rather than have my children and grandchildren pay a much higher and much harsher payment caused by unwise and unsound growth decisions. I hope you will join the fight to save our fragile planet.

Here are a few links that might interest you:

Environmental Groups

Florida Defenders of the Environment -

Sierra Club (Florida Chapter) -

Facebook pages

Florida Wild (a group I founded several years back to serve as a clearinghouse for Florida environmental news) -

Aquiferious ( a group formed by Margaret Tolbert which is specialized about Florida’s springs) -

Recommended reading

“Paving Paradise” by Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite (EXCELLENT book) -

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