|Environmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)|
|Activities, activities and more activities|
VACATION HOMEOWNER #1
"I have been coming to this island for fifteen years and I like it the way it is. I want complete peace and quiet on my vacation. I want to see wildlife and nature undisturbed by human activity. This island is one of the few remaining mangrove habitats for many different kinds of wildlife. Sure, we can destroy this swamp, but how do we know what is happening in other places? How can we make sure there is a place for our wildlife? I think it's about time we accepted our responsibility for the wildlife that has come to depend on us."
VACATION HOMEOWNER #2
"On my vacation, I want to swim, boat, have fun with my friends-I like excitement and nightlife."
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEMBER #1
"My business depends on tourists and residents spending money in my department store. I am interested in developing this island in such a way that more people will live here and spend their money in my store. It is important to me to have industry, hotels, and housing developments. Without the people who use these facilities, I would go broke, and I have a family to support. This is my livelihood."
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEMBER #2
My business depends on sports people. I sell fishing gear, boats, and sports equipment. I am interested in developing this island in such a way that people interested in these kinds of sports will visit it. Therefore, I don't want to see all of the swamp filled in and developed into golf courses, hotels, or airports. That will put me out of business. My business is to supply the sportsmen, hikers, and other visitors who just want to enjoy nature and to explore the island. These are the people I want to attract to the island."
HOTEL OWNERS REPRESENTATIVE
"I have a 500-room hotel which needs to be 70% filled in order for me to make a profit. You figure out how many rooms need to be filled for me to stay in business profitably. We need attractions for them. We need golf courses and marinas. We need landing docks and moorings for people who come in their own boats. We need parking lots and stores for these people. We need attractions that are going to make people want to take their vacations here at my resort. Therefore, we cannot afford to keep these swamps as they are. The swamp has mosquitoes and it smells bad. You can't swim in it and it is not going to attract people to my hotel. I suggest that we fill it in and build a new golf course. We could use another one."
AUDUBON SOCIETY MEMBER
"I am interested in wading birds and shore birds. If we can keep the swamps as they are and keep the mangrove trees, these birds will come to breed and raise their young. They are a very important part of our environment. If the swamp is destroyed we will lose many different kinds of birds, and the island people will lose the $3 million worth of business brought by people who want to visit the swamp. People like me take canoes and quietly observe birds and other animals and their habits, take photographs, and write about them. We can't do this if you destroy the swamp. I do not want to see this land developed."
SHRIMP PACKING PLANT OWNER
"My business depends on a plentiful supply of shrimp. We will not have these shellfish any longer if we continue destroying our mangrove swamps for hotel development, golf courses, private homes, private docks, and the roads and shops you people are planning. We can always put oil refineries and hotels somewhere else, but we can't put shrimp just anywhere. This is a $12 million business on this island! If we destroy the shrimp habitat, I will go broke. My plant will have to close and my employees will be out of work. Just think how high the unemployment rate will be! Then people won't have money to spend on local businesses."
PRESIDENT OF THE SHRIMP PACKERS UNION, LOCAL 461
"My people earn their living processing the shrimp that are caught off the shores of Key Mangrove. When I was first a member of this union, the shrimp boats used to bring in 80 tons of shrimp a day to be processed in the plant. We had 200 people working here. Since the bridge was built 20 years ago, more development has occurred and there have been fewer areas for the shrimp to grow. The number of people who work in the shrimp packing plant has been reduced to 100.A hundred people are out of work because of the development that has been allowed on this island. At this point people want to develop more of this land, to take away more of the shrimp habitat and the mangrove swamps. If you do this, you are going to put 100 more people out of work."
BIOLOGIST FOR THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
"I have been sent here to study the organisms that live in and depend on the mangrove swamp. I have done extensive studies on shrimp, coon oysters, and bonefish, and I have found that these organisms would be eliminated if the mangroves are destroyed. The swamps are also an essential habitat during part of the life cycles of many other organisms. Destruction of these swamps would ensure destruction of many varieties of wildlife that depend on the swamps. Until we fully understand the importance of mangroves we cannot afford to do anything that would destroy them. The shrimp and commercial fishing industries would also be destroyed along with local businesses that are supported by people who want to canoe and look for wildlife in the swamp. We could be creating more problems than we are solving if we destroy the swamps."
"I spent a lot of money for my house. When I moved to this development on Key Mangrove, it was rather exclusive. We had a marina Our homes were on the golf course. We had our own docks. We had all the advantages of privacy and yet all the conveniences of are sort hotel down the street with nice boutiques and shops where I could take my guests when they came on the weekends. There was not much traffic and our property was increasing in value because of the type of development here. Since that time an oil refinery has moved in. We have an airport. The development is encroaching on our privacy. More and more people are coming to the island and causing traffic problems and pollution. I just wonder if our land values are going to be maintained if we allow any more of this kind of development. I don't want to see any more industry or anything that will detract from its exclusive aspects."
OIL REFINERY MANAGER
"When we built our refinery here, I was told there would be plenty of facilities for my workers, that there would be places for their families to live, and that I would have no trouble finding people to work here because of the location. We need more low-cost housing for our employees, and I want to see that dirty old swamp-that smells worse than any oil refinery ever did-filled in. And I want to see homes and facilities built there for the people who are going to work in my plant. Otherwise, we are going to have to close and find a place that will take us.
Now that I am here in operation, I find there are a lot of environmentalists-, bird-watchers, and people who like to fish and hunt, but they don't have any consideration at all for the person who has to earn a living by working here. They don't consider the fact that in order for them to enjoy their activities, they need somebody to refine the oil for their powerboats, trucks, and cars."
"Well, I think we need to have a bit of rational talk around here. I find that an awful lot of my customers are sitting here in this room today. Obviously you all have different interests, but you do have three things in common: you all need to earn a living, and you all need a place to live, and places to buy goods and services. My job is to run the bank, to give you services that allow you to do all the things each and every one of you wants to do. Now, when it comes down to the bottom line, you've got to be practical. In order to feed your kids and get the luxuries in life that you all seem to want, you're going to have to have industry, you're going to have to have business, and you're going to have to take some of these unpleasant lands and develop them. Now, it's not a matter of sentiment, and it's not a matter of those nice birds, nice animals that live there in the mangrove swamp. It's a matter of dollars and cents and your livelihood. I suggest that we all sit down and get together and decide that we are going to do something that is going to keep your bank operating for you people who need the money that it generates."