Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Building a Bridge of Awareness Over Southwest Florida’s Troubled Waters

Water is Life Holley Rauen (left) and Meg Kreig, both Pachamama Alliance core team members

Water is Life Holley Rauen (left) and Meg Kreig, both Pachamama Alliance core team members

While the numbers of individuals and grassroots organizations championing clean water as a human right continue to expand, so too do the visible actions taken by local residents who are passionate about not only cleaning up Southwest Florida waterways and estuaries, but also about drawing down the level of CO2 in our planet’s delicate biosphere.

Thanks to attention focused on local news sources such as Fox News 4 Protecting Paradise and groups such as Calusa Waterkeeper, Captains for Clean Water, SWFL Clean Water Movement, Sierra Club, Clean Water Now, Florida Citizens for Clean Water, the South Florida Clean Water Movement, SWFL Pachamama Alliance and others, including the newly organized movement by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund International Center now spearheading the Rights of Nature in Southwest Florida, eyes are now riveted on environmental issues and solutions for toxic red tide, blue-green algae, the releasing of Lake Okeechobee’s polluted water and agricultural runoff, in addition to the public health risks associated with harmful algal blooms.

Building a bridge of awareness over troubled waters

On August 3, at 7 p.m., supporters of the Southwest Florida Clean Water Movement, cofounded by Fort Myers resident John Heim, can plan to gather on the Matanzas Pass bridge. “We are supporting ‘a call for Holley Rauen (left) and Pachamama volunteers protesting in Fort Myers for clean water as a human rightaction’ directed to all Lee County elected representatives. This begins a 30-day vigil to bring awareness to our request for the posting of water quality information and rinse-off showers that should be installed at public parks and beach accesses. We believe that the cost of these important public safety measures can be paid for from the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau’s (VCB) 5 percent ‘bed’ tax collected on accommodations rented for six months or less. However, the public must ask their local elected representatives to request that the Tourist Development Council (TDC), appointed as an advisory committee to the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, direct some of the tax money to pay for signage and rinse-off showers. This can be done at the next TDC meeting on August 8, at 9 a.m.,” says Heim. “There are many activist groups, and we all want the same thing for the sake of public health—clean water and real information.”

The public can show up alongside me throughout the month at the various town council meetings in Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs. Each city council has to be lobbied individually to get them to make the request of the TDC.

Aug. 8, 9 a.m., TDC meeting, Admin East bldg.. conference room 118, 2201 Second St,. Fort Myers. Call 239-338-3500. For more information, email

Calusa Waterkeeper Florida Water Summit 2

On August 5, Calusa Waterkeeper’s Public Health Alert – Florida Water Summit 2 at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre features the documentary Troubled Waters, produced by Calusa Waterkeeper and a panel Holley Rauen testing the water of the Caloosahatcheeof world-renowned scientists and medical professionals. “The film makes it clear that harmful algal blooms are a public health issue requiring action on the local, state and federal levels,” says K.C. Schulberg, Calusa Waterkeeper executive director.

Aug. 5, 5:30-9 p.m., Broadway Palm Theatre, 1380 Colonial Blvd,. Fort Myers.

A buffet dinner is included in the $20 ticket price. Tickets are available at, with a discount for Calusa Waterkeeper members.

Pachamama Alliance of SWFL Game Changers – Unitarian Universalist Fort Myers

On August 8, a joint meeting of the Lee County Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida and Pachamama Alliance of SWFL (PASWFL) takes place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers. “We want to keep the momentum going so we will be encouraging individuals at the August 5 preview of Troubled Waters to join us in continuing the conversation with an open discussion to find areas of common cooperation and to discover what each of us can do and accomplish by combining our efforts. The gathering includes World Café methodology (, which is a simple, John Heim, SWFL Clean Water Movement, and the beach access signeffective, and flexible format for large group dialogue,” says Gary Robbins, co-founder of PASWFL.

Aug. 8, 6:30-8 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, 13411 Shire Ln., Fort Myers. For more information contact Holley Rauen, 239-464-6556.

August 11 – Last day to sign up for Pachamama Alliance Game Changers Intensive

“We look forward to directing everyone at the August 8 event to the Game Changer Intensive, a unique, eight-week online course that inspires participants and more importantly equips them to become a game-changing leader in their community. It’s clear that the game is rigged, and that political, economic and social systems across the globe are set up to benefit the few at the cost the many. To change the game, what’s needed is for a critical mass of citizens to step up, individually and collectively. The Game Changer Intensive is a powerful training program that catalyzes the inner and outer resources needed—who we need to be and what we need to do—to engage in effective action in the world,” explains Holley Rauen, public health nurse and co-founder of PASWFL.

Participants delve into a wealth of interesting and compelling resources—videos, readings, and activities—delivered in a way that allows them to explore the course content on their own schedule and interact with others in lively online discussions. Weekly conversations with a small group of learning partners and opportunities to join in web gatherings with all participants are at the beginning and end of the course consisting of eight modules.

For more information, contact Holley Rauen, 239-464-6556.

The grassroots movement for clean water has a long history. As Southwest Floridians, it’s our responsibility to keep the movement alive and growing.

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