by Linda Sechrist, President of SWFL RESET Center

On Election Day, 89% of Orange County voters turned their Right to Clean Water Charter Amendment into law. Also known as the Wekiva River and Econlockhatchee River Bill of Rights, Orange County is now the largest jurisdiction in the nation to pass this kind of legislation. This historic, bi-partisan mandate from the citizens of Orange County ushers in the systemic change Florida needs.

Some things are so basic to an American quality of life that they must be beyond the influence of corporate agents and political ideologies. Clean water and healthy ecosystems are such things. Orange County voters have made it clear that clean water and healthy ecosystems are not to be subordinated to the interests of polluters, that business is not to be conducted at the expense of the environment and the public welfare, and that the so-called choice between a healthy environment and a healthy economy is a false one.

The environmental movement has long been premised on regulating pollution. In contrast, granting legally recognized rights to nature, as a means of securing people’s right to clean water and a healthy planet, is the new vanguard of environmental efforts. According to Thomas Linzey, a national Rights of Nature figure who was the featured speaker during a recent SWFL RESET Center webinar, it also makes Florida “the epicenter of the Rights of Nature Movement in the United States.”

Gary Robbins, Lee County Rights of Nature, advises that similar efforts on behalf of citizens of SWFL and the Caloosahatchee River Watershed will begin soon.  If you are interested in learning more about the Rights of Nature Movement, you can view the recorded session with Thomas Linzey here.  The RESET Center is a new 501c3 organization focused on promoting environmental sustainability and advocacy.  Learn more about them on their website www.swflreset.org