I've been talking to friends about the lack of a true winter anymore here in Florida. Yes we have had a few cold nights of light frost this year, but it has been some time since we had the real cold of a few years ago and of my childhood. 2019 had record heat in the last week of October, in the 90's. I know because I was out there sweating profusely for that week at the Fair Oaks Foundation Paint Out.
Winter and it's cooling and drying of our land is so important a break from the swamp environment of Florida. Without it, our summers grow longer and longer and the bug population all but overwhelms us, not to mention the weed growth.
Now our government officials are strangled by big business and rolling back the environmental protections we once had, to protect our Florida wild spaces and wet lands. The more of a concrete jungle Florida becomes, the hotter the environment and climate will be.
The further away from the natural world our children and grandchildren stray, the less they understand earth science, our wild spaces, and the urgent need we have to protect what is left of Florida. Our birds, native animals, native culture, landscape, agriculture, parks and preserves will depend on the very children who are being lead away from the real Florida. As a native Floridian, this is chilling for me.
My mission as a painter has long been to record our beautiful natural Florida for current and future generations to know what I grew up with and to foster a love for our beautiful spot on this fragile planet. I am one of the lucky few who remember the Florida of 60 years ago.
My advice is to support land and wetland trusts, take the kids out to the parks, camping, and nature oriented events and destinations. Support candidates who want to save our state from cheesy development. Encourage teachers and schools to promote earth science, art and culture in the classroom. Support creatives who practice sustainable farming, who promote environmental art and culture. We can save what is left of this beautiful state if we all make at least a tiny effort together.
Life is wonderful for artists.......