Everglades: An Ecosystem Facing Choices and Challenges By Anne Ake Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, then governor of Florida, called it a “pestilence ridden swamp”. He hated it, and wanted to fix it—make it useful. Marjory Stoneman Douglas called it the “river of grass”. She loved it and devoted most of her 108 years to preserving its wild beauty. Broward and others dammed, diked, ditched, and drained thousands of acres. Douglas and her followers advocated, beseeched, cajoled, and damned the despoilers. Anne Ake writes about the focus of their passion in Everglades: An Ecosystem Facing Choices and Challenges. The book covers the ecology and history of this long suffering and controversial ecosystem. She emphasizes the interwoven relationships that make it work. The author points out that much of the abuse that has been heaped on the system has been well-intentioned, but ill-informed as to the long-term results. Chapter six asks, “Can We Fix the Everglades” and begins the answer with: “We cannot restore the Everglades ecosystem to the way it was 200, 100, or even 50 years ago. It is too late for that. But humankind is an ingenious species. The same ingenuity that learned to dig canals, build giant pumps, drain wetlands, and build skyscrapers can repair some of the damage and make the ecosystem function again. A healthy ecosystem regulates itself. There are, however, no controls on human technology. Technology has destroyed the balance in the Everglades. Now, we are faced with the job of making it right again. We must regulate ourselves.” A discussion of the current restoration attempt follows. The book provides an informative and entertaining overview of the Everglades suitable for a wide audience ranging from middle school students to adults. Maps, charts and more than 100 color photographs illustrate the text. The majority of the photos were taken by the author. Anne Ake’s interest in the Everglades stems from living in Homestead for several years with her first husband, an ecologist. She currently lives in the Florida panhandle and is working on a book on the Gulf of Mexico. Previous young adult books include: The Gorilla; The Apache; Hungary, and Austria. Her writing for adult readers includes the text for Dean Mitchell: The Early Years, a coffee table style art book, the introduction to Mr. Mitchell’s second book The Beauty of the Real, and his afterword (ghost written) in a handmade limited edition book with Maya Angelou. She has written numerous magazine articles on the arts, people, and nature. She designed and edited Bay Arts and Entertainment, a bi-monthly arts publication, and published Cool KidStuff, a children’s magazine. Her photography has appeared in her books and in local and regional publications.
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