Friday, August 21, 2015

Miami New Times recognizes a conservation legend in Miami, Lloyd Miller ... by gimleteye

Good on Miami New Times for recognizing one of the few, authentic environmental activists in Miami-Dade County: 95 year old Lloyd Miller.

The time is long past due that local press highlighted members of the small, intrepid band of environmentalists in Miami. Without knowing who these people are, and what they have dedicated their time, energy and in many cases money to fight for, how will a younger generation become engaged by example?

So continue on, Miami New Times. As for the rest: The Miami Herald? CBS? Michael Putney? WPBT? The paucity of reports about environmentalists needs context.

One of the incidents reported by the New Times involving Lloyd Miller at the end of a pistol-whipping by a younger Bill Losner, founder of a community bank in corrupt Homestead resonates particularly.

Losner was a tireless advocate of turning Homestead, at the edge of not one but two national parks, into suburban sprawl and an extension of Kendall. If there was an environmental initiative in South Florida, Losner was the loudest bully opposing it. As the housing boom crested and before the crash, Losner sold his shares in the bank for reportedly more than thirty million, but during his time as one of the forward phalanx -- standing behind him, community icons like Bob Traurig -- Losner relentlessly opposed environmental protections.

The Miami New Times only captured a small glimpse of Lloyd Miller, who fought to return more natural water flows to the eastern edge of Everglades National Park and from there, to renourish Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay. Opponents -- including James Humble also of South Dade and other big farmers -- still exert significant control over governmental agencies that, in name, protect natural resources and South Florida wetlands.

A former director of Friends of the Everglades, Joe Podgor, once said, "Saving the Everglades is a test. If we pass, we may get to keep the planet." Well, we are not doing well on either front but it is not for want of trying by at least a few.

It is a good sign that Miami New Times decided to highlight a 95 year old activist. The Times' example is worth reconsideration by Miami's mainstream media: with climate change and sea level rise generating attention on Miami from around the world, isn't it time to acknowledge that maybe the sentinels who fought long and hard on South Florida's environmental issues could provide an inspiration to the new generations who will find themselves stuck in a context no one believed was possible, not the past publishers and executives of the press.
A photo of "Dismaland", a site specific work of artists, coordinated by guerrilla street artist Banksy, and set to open  in a few days in South West England.


Anonymous said...

Lloyd Miller is one of the most outstanding and honorable men I know. His environmental advocacy we cannot place a price on today and the future.

Anonymous said...

This is so well deserved by Lloyd. He is truly a gem. Losner, on the other hand, can pound sand. Losner has done so much damage to our environment and Lloyd Miller it's hard to quantify. Love you Lloyd!

Mr. Sunshine said...

Lloyd is an icon in the environmental community and an honorable and earnest man. I'm lucky to have met and continue to be inspired by him.

Anonymous said...

Lloyd Miller, along with Juanita Green and others were responsible for saving the Biscayne Bay and Elliot Key from development. There was to be a causeway, high rise development and a petrochemical facility.Instead, now we have a national park. Here's to Lloyd Miller, a man of great vision, tenacity and integrity. See his book: Biscayne National Park; It Almost Wasn't.