Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

Photographer John Moran says Florida springs are in a state of distress

November 30, 2016
By ASHLEY GOODMAN ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

John Moran, a nature photographer and advocate who is based out of Gainesville, says that 82 percent of Florida's springs are in serious disrepair. Moran, who has been photographing the springs for the last 30 years has found that many of them are now coated with algae due to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, human waste and overpumping.

Moran spoke to a full house on Nov. 18 at "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and showed then-and-now photographs of different springs across Florida.

"Now when I go to Ichetucknee, it seems more like a nightmare. A thick sludge of algae fueled by fertilizer, sewage and manure now chokes the eel grass and clouds the water," Moran said. "I consider with each passing year that my pictures of a pristine spring made here many years ago seems less a reflection of today's real Florida than a catalog of what once was.

Article Photos

John Moran


Moran said that a healthy environment is our greatest economic aspect and that there is no long term well-being in Florida if we continue to use and abuse our waters.

"What we have here in Florida is a failure of a imagination and a poverty of spirit that enables a system of governance that knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing. Sustainability must be at the heart of our vision for Florida in the 21st century," he said.

Moran himself grew up in the Sunshine State. At the age of two, he moved to Fort Myers with his family from Boston. In 1973, he left Southwest Florida to attend the University of Florida. Shortly after, he became entranced with the springs and began photographing them. Since the late '70s, he has been documenting their steady decline.

Moran said that the average Floridian uses 134 gallons of fresh water per day. Much of that water is used for our lawns. Some of the ways he says we can combat this is to be mindful of how much water we use everyday, cut back on fertilizer and pesticides and grow native plants.

"I'm sorry to be the barer of bad news, but it's simply not sustainable. Florida's population is expected to swell by 15 million more residents by 2070," he said.

Four years ago, Moran realized that his voice wasn't being heard by just selling his photographs. So, he began showing pictures that show the flip side of the beauty of the springs. For Moran, pictures speak louder than words.

"In 2012 I had my "Come to Jesus" moment and realized my pretty pictures weren't doing anything. I realized I had a deeper obligation to show and tell the truth more fully as I see it," Moran said. "In my programs I showcase a lot of Florida springs with then-and-now views of the same spring 20 to 30 years apart, that changes the whole conversation because pictures have a way of reaching people in ways that words alone cannot. Pictures have an undeniable power."

Currently, Moran is working on the Springs Eternal Project with Lesley Gamble and Rick Kilby. Their goal is to team up with scientists, researchers and advocates to find a solution to save the springs. He is also working on a book entitled "Springs Eternal: Water, Democracy and Florida's Future. Moran is hoping to release it within two years.

"I'm hoping it will be published in time to shape the statewide conversation in 2018 which is the year we elect our next governor," Moran said.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web