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Water and Justice in the Northern Springs

Have you ever heard of Silphium? Maybe not. But it was a popular seasoning that you will find in Mediterranean cookbooks because it was a favorite seasoning and herb for generations of gourmets who never imagined that it could disappear. Silphium grew wild along a single, narrow stretch of North Africa until it went extinct in the 2nd century B.C.E.

Why? Desertification in North Africa (climate change) didn't help, certainly. Its narrow range made it vulnerable. But greed and hunger drove its fragile existence over the edge, and it could not be grown by farmers so, one day, about 2200 years ago, the last harvester plucked the last Silphium and the plant was never seen again.

The Greeks knew that this plant was a limited resource, and there were regulations on how much of it could be harvested. But the Romans thought they knew better. They ignored the science of Silphium, and the balance of the natural world, and as a result, Silphium is no more.

Why are we telling you this story about Silphium, when you clearly read in the title that this is a story about Water and Justice in the Springs north of our Everglades and South Florida home?

We used to have a Spring down here. It was called Kissingen. 20 million gallons a day rose from it out of the Florida Aquifer into the Peace River. But excessive pumping, made without thought for the long-term consequences, bleed the Springs dry and in 1950, the medicinal waters of Kissingen were gone forever.

You've probably been seeing this sigil appear on our social media sites. Its a sigil to call upon justice and protection for the Springs of Northern Florida, with a chant at the top which goes like this Sat Cito Si Recte. It means "Soon Enough if Correct" - to take the time to do what is right for justice to be served.

Here's a bit of background on the issues

Seven Springs Water Co. is requesting a permit in order to sell up to a million gallons of water a day to Nestle's BlueTriton company, which will bottle the water and sell it for a profit. In Florida Springs Council vs Seven Springs Water Co. the Florida Springs Council is challenging the permit, alleging that it goes against both the Public Interest (citizen concerns were being ignored, as were tourist and scientific concerns about how this would impact the water flow), as well as the technical problem of the permit being sought by one company (Seven Springs Water Co.) while Nestle's BlueTriton, would be doing the actual bottling. In short, the one asking for the permit isn't the one doing the actual bottling, just making money off the process.

Is Ginnie Springs in danger? The water management district says no, but voices pushing for a more conservative approach to water management have been pushed off in recent years, to the point where only one Florida Water Management District has an environmentalist on the board. And funding has been slashed, taking away the resources for independent study of water flows and the needs of the Spring, as well as the scientists and experts who would have that knowledge. But by some estimates, water flows from the Springs to the Suwannee River have declined by 4% even before the increased bottling that this permit would allow.

How can you help? We'll post the video from Friday Night's Blot, with a rune chant to empower justice for the Florida Springs. And join Abelina's Grove in chanting Sat Cito Si Recte every day between now and the hearing to spur the cause of justice in our Lady Florida's Northern Springs.

And always consider alternatives to bottled water wherever possible, including home filtration, reuseable tumblers, and boxed waters like which will plant a tree when you post a selfie with the boxed water on your social media.

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