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Good Job University of Miami

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The University of Miami for the win, if by win you mean destroying the planet:

One of the world’s rarest forests, a section of Miami-Dade County’s last intact tracts of endangered pine rockland, is getting a new resident: a Walmart.

About 88 acres of rockland, a globally imperiled habitat containing a menagerie of plants, animals and insects found no place else, was sold this month by the University of Miami to a Palm Beach County developer. To secure permission for the 158,000-square-foot box store, plus an LA Fitness center, Chik-fil-A and Chili’s restaurants and about 900 apartments, the university and the developer, Ram, agreed to set aside 40 acres for a preserve.

Ram also plans to develop 35 adjacent acres still owned by the university.

But with less than 2 percent of the vast savanna that once covered South Florida’s spiny ridge remaining, the deal has left environmentalists and biologists scratching their heads.

“You wonder how things end up being endangered? This is how. This is bad policy and bad enforcement. And shame on UM,” said attorney Dennis Olle, a board member of Tropical Audubon and the North American Butterfly Association, who wrote to Florida’s lead federal wildlife agent Friday demanding an investigation.

The university said in a statement that it is committed to protecting the forests — only about 2,900 acres of rockland are left outside Everglades National Park — and helped execute plans for the preserve, but would not respond to questions.

I mean, sure we are committed to saving the rockland in the sense that we will sell for the 1,000,000th Wal-Mart in this country and turn it into cash we can then concentrate in improving the salaries of our most administrators. That is what America is all about, destroying rare ecosystems to buy ivory backscratchers (unfairly illegal!) to not only our president and provost, but our deans as well. Thus, no questions.

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  • Orphos

    Can I cynically suggest that it’ll all be under water in 50 years?

    • Nick

      My thought too — has anyone here read the Lyonesse trilogy by Jack Vance? Three volumes, all of it great, part dynastic struggles, part comedy of manners, part fantasy, part humour, all of it set on an archipelago that the reader knows is going to sink beneath the waves in the end. That’s Southern Florida.

      • Rob Patterson

        When I saw that the developer was named Ram I thought of Pynchon.

    • Johnnie

      If it weren’t all developed it’d be the last stuff to go, it’s all on limestone outcroppings above the marshes and beaches.

    • BigHank53

      How fitting that this sale, which is pretty much the definition of knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing, should result in the production of a WalMart: a temple dedicated to knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing.

      It’ll probably still be above water in fifty years; the roads leading to it, well, not so much. And the population required to support a functioning WalMart will be long, long gone.

      • Nick

        Abandoned Walmarts will be the pyramids, the mighty aquaducts, the noble Greek temples of American civilization. Yellowknifers and Whitehorsians of the 22nd century will go on a Grand Tour of their massive environs, sketching their ruins and wondering at the vanished beauty of yore.

        • Warren Terra

          Somehow I doubt Wal-Mart builds to last.

          • Nick

            Will such beauty vanish from the Earth?

            • Ozymandias Walton

              Look upon my works, ye mighty, and snicker!

            • Zombie K-Mart

              Look on my Blue-Light Special, ye mighty, and despair!

          • Davis X. Machina

            My son the architect had as a class project to re-purpose a dead 100,000 sq. ft. WalMart that was being closed to be replaced by a 240,000 sq. ft. Supercenter across the street.

            Basically, you can’t. It’s as little building as you can throw up to enclose the space. The utilities, etc. are all wrong for just about any second life you can think of except ‘building very small blimps’.

            • Nick

              Would you say the Temple of Artemis at Ephesis was useless for ‘repurposing’ because its columns were the wrong height? Some things exist simply to be exquisite. Let them build this Walmart, I say, and may the future decide what is trash and what is beauty.

              • The Future

                We talked about it, and we decided trash.

                • MattF

                  Underwater trasn.

                • Nick

                  Full fathom five, the Walmart lies
                  Its cheap fabricated siding now coral made
                  Those are pearls that were its Muzak speakers
                  Nothing of it that doth fade
                  But doth suffer a tidal drown
                  Into something equally crappy but more run-down

                • rea

                  The notion that this Walmart is going to be bad for the environment is short-sighted. A sunken Walmart will make great fish habitat, much better than sunken savanna.

            • ajay

              The utilities, etc. are all wrong for just about any second life you can think of except ‘building very small blimps’.

              I can’t think of anything I would rather do with any disused building than use it to build lots of very small blimps.

      • mark

        great post BigHank53. As a native Floridian who loves natural Florida, my heart is broken beyond repair. Need to move to Washington, light a legal spliff, and give up on my dream of going home and fishing my days away.
        I feel like the Fred Astaire character in “On the Beach”.

    • Ken

      That’s my attitude toward the Middle East. If the tectonics don’t change, in 50 million years it will all be somewhere under the world’s tallest mountain range.

  • Barry Freed

    Think of all the adjuncts they’ll be able to hire with the proceeds from this sale.

    • Warren Terra

      Remember the context. The money is more likely to go to the football team, one way or another.

      • Philip

        Grade incentives to adjuncts teaching athletes: the adjunct gets another month’s rent for every 5 football players who get A’s in his/her class!

        • Warren Terra

          Another month’s rent in the apartment they share with three other adjuncts, perhaps. Or perhaps a credit on the meal plan, instead.

          • Nick

            It’s the spirit that counts

  • Big Bad Bald Bastard

    Another slice of Mordor…

  • Big Bad Bald Bastard

    Shimrod FTW!

    • Big Bad Bald Bastard

      In reply to Nick… Pay no attention to the man behind the cretin!

  • Anonymous

    They are committed to the environment the same way I was committed to virginity when I was an 18 year old boy.

    • MattF

      ‘Committed’ can mean so many different things.

  • sibusisodan

    attorney Dennis Olle, a board member of Tropical Audubon and the North American Butterfly Association

    Look, whenever Audubon Societies complain about people using bird habitats for nefarious purposes, it basically means that MI6 has to get involved and that there’s a man with hooks for hands behind the decision.

    So that’s something to look forward to at, least.

    • ajay

      Look, whenever Audubon Societies complain about people using bird habitats for nefarious purposes, it basically means that MI6 has to get involved and that there’s a man with hooks for hands behind the decision.

      James Bond would definitely oppose this decision. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bond_%28ornithologist%29

      • Ken

        OK, am I the only one who looks at his Wikipedia picture and thinks “Bond villain”?

  • LeftWingFox

    and helped execute plans for the preserve

  • g

    Send up the bat-signal for Ex-Governor Skink and Trooper Jim Tile!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Tyree

  • Gregor Sansa

    Is there any hope of stopping development? Are there no endangered species on the land?

  • Dano

    This is why “sustainable” and similar words are impossible for humans. We simply cannot manage our affairs at this population level. Small family groups before the agrarian age? Sure. Cities over 10k people? No.

    Best,

    D

  • CSI

    Neither the university nor walmart can conceive they are doing anything wrong here. Pointless trying to reason with them.

    This is the result of hundreds of years of single minded American obsession with population and economic growth. A process which most are convinced will last forever but which is rapidly approaching its end. A lot of this land will have a chance to recover once its abandoned, but this will take a long time.

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