When I was a child, Panama City Beach was a really fun tourist trap. Not much public beach was left in the tourist area.
Destin, however, was nothing but public beaches with the rare, tiny house or two in one small area. Miles and miles of unspoiled, public beaches, as far as you could see. Gorgeous! I remember those days with a reverent fondness.
Pensacola Beach was pretty much the same. It had a larger area for small, one story, cement block houses, but it was mostly miles and miles and miles of unspoiled beaches. And the city fathers were determined to keep it that way. Development was severely restricted. As it should have been in my view.
But public beaches don’t feed the capitalists’ bank accounts and had to go!
Today Destin is completely and utterly unrecognizable to me. No public beach anywhere. You have to rent or own a condo or hotel room to enjoy that beach. It costs money, and lots of it.
And, tragically, Pensacola Beach is rapidly developing, falling to the will of corporate greed and destruction of that which was once serene, unspoiled, and open to everyone—the public, you, me, all.
I won’t even get started about how BP has destroyed the ecosystem of the Gulf and these pristine beaches. I am horrified that thousands of tourists swim in those waters unaware of the known toxins that are seeping into their skin. And, to my shock, Pensacola‘s drinking water is now the most unsafe drinking water in the nation!
Open. Open to everyone.
A commons. A shared space that can be trusted, preserved to be cherished.
Everything is now about the almighty dollar: greed, capitalism, the ultimate ponzi scheme that depends on more and more people consuming, more and more money coming in or it all comes tumbling down. The “tumbling down” is inevitable in my opinion.
Our nation is under assault. But the terrorists aren’t Muslim. They are corporations hell-bent on owning everything, turning the maximum profit on our future. Selling off public to fill private bank accounts.
The demonization of the word “public” is an atrocity: Public housing, public hospitals, etc. all have a negative connotation by careful design. Defund them to reduce taxes or send that money into the private bank accounts of the corporate elite.
I could never have imagined this would have been possible when I was a young child picking up shells from Pensacola’s public beaches, starfish and sea horses from the water’s edge. Those little guys are gone now, because of the horrid pollution.
Tragically, those days are probably gone forever.
No one will know how truly beautiful it all once was.
Is this as good as it gets? Does it even get worse from here?
I decided to use someone else’s photo of the beach. When I did a search on Flickr for a CC image of the beach, all I could find were pictures of the development, none of just the beach. Is this really what we like, what we want? Is this now the modern concept of a beach?