Title: Of Earth and Eagles
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00000930/00001
 Material Information
Title: Of Earth and Eagles
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Tampa Tribune
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Tampa Tribune Article January 14, 1989
General Note: Box 7, Folder 4 ( Vail Conference 1989 - 1989 ), Item 29
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00000930
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

Of Earth and Eagles

(f lhe growing concern about the
: .planet's future had become the
year's most important story," Time
magazine declared in naming Earth
the Planet of the Year instead of se-
lecting a man or woman of the year in
its Jan., 2 issue.
The writers review the most publi-
cized environmental troubles: a possi-
ble warming trend, destruction of
South American rain forests, starva-
tion in undeveloped nations, extinc-
tion of plants and animals, and
pollution of air and water.
The conclusion: "Both the causes
and effects of the problems that
threaten the earth are global, and
they must be attacked globally." Bold-
ly stated and mostly correct. So why,
despite convincing evidence, does this
urgent call for action fall a bit flat?
SBecause it overlooks the grassroots
front lines of the environmental-pro-
tection war where the bills are paid.
STime magazine suggests charging a
household for the pounds of garbage it
produces. Weighing curb-side trash
will seem outlandish to the politicians
who set garbage rates. The reality in
Florida is that even basic recycling is
still experimental and many areas of
the state don't even offer garbage
pickup, much less pickup on scales.
SThe magazine suggests raising the
federal gasoline tax by 50 cents a gal-
lon to remind motorists to conserve
fuel. But urban planners in cities
choking on ozone and exhaust fumes
understand that the price of gasoline

is insignificant alongside the costs of
buying, insuring, parking, and main-
taining an automobile. Adding 50
cents to the price of a gallon of gaso-
line won't keep cars and trucks out of
downtown. When ihe wind doesn't
blow, the city air will continue to be
heavy with poisonous particles.
How poisonous? The question sug-
gests the hard, essential task put-
ting accurate price tags on vanishing
resources and deciding how to deal
with the irreplaceable, priceless ones.
The problems connected with such
decisions are at the heart of many lo-
cal news stories. Nor are the solutions
as simple as making despoilers pay
and pay until they stop despoiling.
Battles are being won while the war is
slowly being lost.
A development company recently
was fined $20,000 in Tampa for tear-
ing down an eagle's nest. The nest had
to go so a multimillion-dollar project
could continue.
Who won? The developer would
say the eagle. The eagle ,would dis-
agree. And the Planet of the Year
would concur with the national bird
that arguing over price is meaningless
as long as the damage goes unre-
Concern about the planet's future is
admirable. But people won't save the
Earth until they begin to care about
where the waters from their own
yards drain and where the birds dis-
placed by development will nest next

. 20


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