Dispatches from a Sinking State is The Marjorie‘s contributor series featuring first-person accounts of the environmental changes Floridians are witnessing across the state.
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After 11 years of living in the state, Amanda Hagood finds herself thinking more about the consequences her own presence, and the millions of others living here, have on Florida’s ecosystems. Her fascination has morphed into gratitude and a desire to do right by Florida’s future.
One generation of land loss and displaced cultural traditions is all it takes to put a Gullah/Geechee community’s culture in jeopardy. Glenda Simmons-Jenkins describes the cultural displacement her community experienced after State Road A1A cut through her neighborhood in 1976.
Extreme heat. Hurricanes. Unfair working conditions. Lupe Gonzalo describes how worker exploitation and the impacts of climate change are interconnected and how, to support Florida farmworkers, these issues need to be addressed simultaneously and led by those who are experiencing the greatest threats.
N’Kwanda Jah felt called to work toward environmental sustainability before she understood the technical meaning behind the phrase. She knew the goal was to protect the environment — a mission she calls not just her responsibility, but her humble pleasure.
As riverkeeper of the Apalachicola watershed, Georgia Ackerman’s job is to protect one of Florida’s largest rivers and most expansive floodplains. For Georgia and many others, the Apalachicola offers peace, tranquility and a kindred energy that unites those who have felt pulled by their love for a river.
When she was growing up in Liberty City, Valencia Gunder heard her grandfather warn that one day their community would be in danger. Decades later, Valencia is living the prophecy her grandfather predicted as climate gentrification changes the urban landscape where she grew up.
From her grandmother Marjorie Harris Carr, who fought to protect the river, to her father, who remembers catfish that were as big as his leg. Jennifer describes her vision for the river as she takes on the mantle of her grandmother’s legacy as one of its protectors.
As a child, Stephenie Livingston encountered an alligator snapping turtle in the dark waters of the Suwannee River. When she became a science journalist later in life, she realized the alligator turtle was a symbol of the resilience of the river itself.
Jade Salamone, co-coordinator for Gainesville FrogWatch USA at Santa Fe College, advocates for killing invasive frogs and toads in Florida to save the Florida ecosystems she cherishes.
As Brittney Miller grew up in Sanford, Florida, she watched as some of the natural spaces she loved were slowly devoured by encroaching development.
As rising sea levels threaten Florida, Jesse Wilson worries about the fate of her hometown of Sanibel. Stashing away her personal blame and guilt, she heads to Sanibel to embrace the simple act of saying goodbye, as she would for anyone she loved.
Dylann Turffs, a naturalist at the Biscayne Nature Center, traces the legacy of Marjory Stoneman Douglas to forge a connection between people and the natural world.