The following announcement is by OSFR founding member, past president and board member Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson. Please read carefully and consider joining this movement.
Industry and corporations run rampant over and lands and waters, wholly consuming them without regard to the depletion and destruction they leave behind. If money can be made, our government supports them to get the bribes and tax dollars.
If you are tired of this and believe their are things more important in this life than money, please take a look at Nature’s Rights.
Given the long-standing lethargy, apathy and outright hostility by our legislators to protect our environment, within this concept may lie the salvation of our planet.
This is a relatively new concept in our country, but it is rapidly gaining followers throughout the world. We must expect a lot resistance but the time has come for the beginning.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Santa Fe River Bill of Rights Campaign Kickoff Set for Aug. 27th and 29th in High Springs and Gainesville
The public is invited to back-to-back SAFEBOR kickoff events, beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27th at the High Springs Brewing Company* in downtown High Springs at 18562 NW 237th St.
(*Note change in venue location. This alternate location is across the street from the previously scheduled North Florida Springs Environmental Center.)
The Gainesville event begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29th at the Millhopper branch library at 3145 NW 43rd St.
The Santa Fe River Bill of Rights (SAFEBOR) campaign to enact new legal safeguards for the beloved river bordering Alachua County officially kicks off with events on Aug. 27th and 29th in High Springs and Gainesville.
If the ballot initiative is approved by Alachua County voters in the 2020 general election, the county’s home rule charter will be amended to recognize the right of the Santa Fe River to naturally exist and flourish as an ecosystem, and the river’s right to be free of activities or practices that infringe upon those rights.
Existing regulatory laws have failed to protect Florida waters, organizers say, and falling aquifers and slime-filled rivers and springs with diminished flows increasingly are the focus of news stories and citizen concern. Since the Santa Fe River springs are the top layer of groundwater that provides our drinking water, another serious concern is the health of that drinking water.
In order to secure a spot on the November 2020 ballot, campaign organizers and volunteers are poised to gather more than 18,000 petition signatures from registered Alachua County voters in the next six months. With voter approval, Alachua County will be legally positioned to elevate the rights of communities and nature above the claimed “rights” of corporations to harm public waters within the Santa Fe rivershed in Alachua County.
“The effort to grant legal rights to natural systems is part of a visionary new movement being adopted within the United States and internationally because people recognize that we need to fundamentally change the ways we are living with Mother Nature,” says SAFEBOR steering committee member David Moritz, who is also chair of the Alachua County Environmental Protection Advisory Committee.
The voters of Toledo, Ohio made headlines earlier this year when they overwhelmingly passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights in the wake of a 2014 emergency shutdown of their city’s municipal water supply, rendered unsafe to drink for three days by toxic algae and impacting more than half a million residents.
Ballot language and informational literature will be available and attendees will be encouraged to take home petition gathering kits. Donations to cover expenses for the all-volunteer campaign will be welcomed.
The other SAFEBOR steering committee members are nature photographer John Moran; writer Lu Merritt, who has worked with several springs defender groups in North Florida; and Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, a founding member of Our Santa Fe River.