For some, the Everglades is simply a vast mass of land one has to get through on long, tiring road trips. Sure, you may see the occasional alligator or two, but from behind a car window, our massive swamp can lose some of its magic.
But in reality, it’s a habitat for more than 20 types of animals on the threatened or endangered species list and one of our state's most precious natural treasures. What people typically fail to realize is that the Everglades also act as a source of water for more than 7 million Americans. Ironically — yet not so unexpectedly — humans are responsible for detrimentally altering the very ecosystem they have come to rely on.
Now, the Love the Everglades Movement is depending on South Florida music fans to help out. Its mission is one of restoration, including the removal of invasive species as well as ensuring the protection of the Everglades’ waters.
Their weapons of choice: song, spoken word, dance, and art.
Together with Ploppy Palace Productions, a benefit concert meant to raise Everglades awareness is being put on for the eighth year. The benefit concert started as an annual environmental gathering at Miami's Wallflower Gallery until the space closed in 2010. Four years later, in 2014, Ploppy Palace Productions teamed up with the Love the Everglades Movement to reinstate the event.
“Our goals merge artistic entertainment with educational empowerment, so we can strengthen our community with the vibrancy of art and the vitality of water,” says the event’s musical director, who simply goes by Flash.“This is not a passive show. We want the audience to connect with the different organizations and speakers as we work to build up a coalition of active supporters. We want people to be motivated — to spread the knowledge and resources from this event to their friends and families.”
Flash emphasizes that though they might not have all of the answers necessary for the restoration, events such as this benefit help build a strong network of supporters to expand not only their outreach but also their knowledge on how to tackle the issues the Everglades are facing.
“South Florida is at a precipice of environmental disaster, and if we don’t address the roots of overdevelopment, energy policy, and water management, we will lose the quality of water and the diversity of wildlife in the Everglades,” Flash says.
“If we continue to build without consideration for the world around us, we threaten the fabric [of] life and face unknown consequences.”
The eighth-annual Everglades Awareness Benefit Concert with Suenalo, the Spam Allstars, Army Gideon, Sunghosts, and more. 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, September 19, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Admission is $10. All Ages.