Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sugar poisons people, poisons democracy and poisons the Everglades

One should not be surprised at the media blitz by Florida's sugar billionaires, meant to distract voters and citizens (not necessarily the same, as voter turnout shows) from the true cause of the disastrous water management policies that afflict the state. Sugar poisons people, poisons democracy and poisons the Everglades, yet earlier this summer its message machine sent millions of Florida voters mailers assuring that it was working to save Florida's Everglades and water quality. This, in the midst of the worst toxic water crisis in Florida's modern history, with rivers and estuaries so poisonous that people were advised by their governments not to touch the water. Period.

As one of those environmentalists who have spent decades railing against the inequities and corrupt politics at the heart of the state, that mainly benefit sugar growers on the ring of Lake Okeechobee, none of this is a surprise in the context of the economic elite that controls the operations of government.

So while there is breath in this blog, I will return to a theme that environmentalists have neglected: that sugar doesn't just poison the Everglades -- which it does through the massive emission of fertilizer run off from its fields -- but it poisons people. People, as in you and me.

Last month Credit Suisse released a report linking $1 TRILLION in U.S. healthcare spending to medical problems associated with sugar consumption. "… 30% to 40% of healthcare expenditures in the USA go to help address issues that are closely tied to the excess consumption of sugar." Why haven't environmentalists -- who have lost the war with government bought and paid for by Big Sugar -- sought to make the link between people poisoned by sugar and the loss of Florida's natural heritage?

How does Big Sugar keep this issue hidden from voters and citizens? In part, it is a deliberate, successful strategy to quarantine news reports and the negative impacts on sugar to society. You will never see in a news report for example a link between disgusting, toxic water flooding Florida's valuable coastal real estate and the gigantic costs of sugar to Americans' health.

Environmentalists need some good advice on media management. It is clear that Big Sugar has the best consultants on media that money can buy, and its money can buy virtually anything that isn't tied down. It can buy congressmen, it can buy farm policy, it can buy space on OPED sections or buy the entire "news" organization itself (ie. Sunshine State News) and its own blogs. But it can't buy away the fact that sugar poisons people, poisons the Everglades, and poisons democracy.

Read the Credit Suisse report, here.


Anonymous said...

In years when it counted -- when David Lawrence, then publisher, now on the board of the Everglades Foundation -- Big Sugar had a friend in the editor who managed environmental stories and was on the editorial board: Joanna Wragg. When Wragg retired from the paper, Big Sugar hired the public relations firm she ran with her husband. It would be a good thing to know and fair warning to other newspapers, how much money Wragg earned from Big Sugar, hush money during the years it counted. Free and independent press? An illusion.

Anonymous said...

Sugar is a killer. It is addictive. So sad the Miami Herald is so weak and ineffectual.

Anonymous said...

Pesticides cause auto immune disease. Auto immune disease trigger pancreas cells to stop functioning, if a person doesn't value their own physical body by ingesting processed foods and pounds of sugar, why would they value their environment? An epidemic of Americans trade health and natural beauty for convenience and physical comforts. Companies make fortunes on unhappiness, because sad people buy things to divert their.attention. It's all a marketing facade and very lucrative and addictive,

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I believe sugar is the number one problem interrupting learning in the classroom. Its quite disturbing to see these students squirming in school then finding out what they had for breakfast. Then, you get to see what "extras" are being put in their lunchboxes. Preservatives, coloring, and, of course sugar!

Bob Welsh said...

I drive US 27 on a regular basis. Big Sugar POISONS THE AIR. Every square inch of Cain field gets turned into thick black clouds of smoke, sometimes causing the only cumulus clouds visible on the horizon. Bob Welsh, South Miami