Caring for the environment is a mandate from God

Audubon of Florida described the final product as "the most anti-environment budget this state has ever seen."

And yet the collective response from the Legislature and governor was a big: "So what?"

Well, we're now seeing what.

As a recent series in the Sentinel showed, water is such a concern in this state that private and government agencies are now fighting over it.

Pollution is going unchecked. Spring levels are dropping. The costs of sprawl continue to mount.

Some of the most profound effects of recent changes — making it easier to build on sensitive lands or pollute waters, for instance — won't be felt for years or even decades.

"We're all familiar with the expression: 'If you think education is expensive, try ignorance,' " Hunter said. "Well, if you think it's expensive to take care of our environment, try not taking care of it."

Graham is convinced most Floridians are well aware of the value of protecting the land on which we live. He's seen it in surveys and even green mandates that Floridians have voted into to the state constitution.

"What we need," Graham said, "is for the Legislature to be as aware as the people of Florida."

One of the problems, though, is that development interests have launched an in increasingly successful campaign to demonize people who care about the environment.

Those who speak up for protecting natural resources are blasted as small-minded and obstacles to prosperity.

I have trouble seeing Rev. Hunter as either of those things.

In fact, Hunter's quite convinced that prosperity can happen only when the earth is properly cared for.

And while Hunter doesn't point fingers, he also said one other thing that politicians who tout their commitment to Christ and God on the campaign trail might do well to remember: "You can always tell what you think of the giver by how well you take care of his gifts."

smaxwell@tribune.com or 407-420-6141

PHOTO GALLERIES