Florida’s Changing Waters: A Beautiful World in Peril

Florida’s Changing Waters: A Beautiful World in Peril
By Lynne Buchanan Essays by Jason M. Evans and Robert L. Knight George F. Thompson Publishing April 2019
“Captivating,” “beautifully rendered,” and “a must-have for environmentalists and conservationists.”
Publisher’s Weekly

Lynne Buchanan began photographing rivers to create artistic records of her connection with water and the lessons she learned from rivers about being in the present moment and aligning with the flow of life. The more time she spent photographing waterways in her native Florida, the more she noticed what was being damaged and lost due to human impact. She resolved to work with water and environmental advocates, from members of the Waterkeeper organization to Native American activists fighting to preserve the integrity of their ancestral lands and drinking water and to draw attention to the situation through her photography.

The result is Changing Waters, which documents the negative effects of climate change, agricultural pollution, population and urban growth, and land development on Florida’s inland and coastal waters and springs. Though her work is very place specific, it reveals the interconnected and global nature of our environmental problems. Indeed, Florida, with its fragile springs, wetlands, and coastal waters, can be considered a tragic and powerful example of what is happening and will continue to happen to aquatic systems elsewhere in the nation and the world as a result of unchecked industrialization and human-caused climate change. Her images invite viewers to consider their personal relationship to water and encourage better stewardship of this vital––and finite––resource. They are also a call to action to find effective ways to preserve these waterways for both their natural beauty and their essential role in our survival.

Lynne Buchanan’s photographs have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions including the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, the Fogartyville Arts and Media Center in Sarasota, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts,

Brickworks Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, and 516 Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has been affiliated with the Waterkeeper Alliance since 2013.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for his work with Riverkeepers on behalf of New York’s Hudson River, has been a tireless defender of the environment across the Americas and beyond for more than 30 years. He is currently senior counsel to Waterkeepers Alliance, which operates throughout the United States and in more than 130 countries. He is the author of five books.

Robert L. Knight, Ph.D is an environmental scientist/systems ecologist with more than thirty-five years of experience as an aquatic and wetlands ecologist in Florida. He is the founder and director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, which is co-located with the North Florida Springs Environmental Center in High Springs, Florida.

Jason M. Evans, Ph.D is an interdisciplinary systems and landscape ecologist and assistant professor of landscape and environmental studies at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. He is currently working with local governments along the southeastern U.S. coast on sea level rise adaptation. He also has extensive experience in the ecology, management and restoration of Florida springs ecosystems.

Nominated for Aperture Foundation’s First PhotoBook Award as well as Best Book in Ecology/Environment with Foreword Indies!

“With unspoken irony, Lynne Buchanan’s photographs expose the toxic destruction of Florida’s inland waters and coastal areas in a devastating indictment of unrestrained industrialization and reckless development.

Lynne has crisscrossed the state to find and bear witness to the devastation that we might see, understand, and be moved to action to remediate the situation in this state, which is a bellwether for the rest of the country.” –Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

What a wondrous world of water—lakes and ponds and streams and rivers (not to mention bays and the gulf and the Atlantic)—that has shaped Florida’s landscape and identity, and how fragile are the conditions that help preserve the state’s water and provide sustenance to all the creatures (human and otherwise) that depend on its clean water for survival. If you are curious about Florida’s water and the conditions threatening its health, and if you love gorgeous photography, pick up a copy of Lynne Buchanan’s new book, Florida’s Changing Waters. She’s a passionate guide, and she takes her readers on a spellbinding tour into the heart of Florida, sharing its beauty and its mystery and the many challenges facing it in the days ahead.” —Bruce Black, author of Writing Yoga

In this captivating illustrated debut, photographer and activist Buchanan chronicles the environmental damage being done to Florida’s waterways, showcasing a devastating plight facing her native state. Buchanan is unapologetic and feels no need to be diplomatic, tersely stating, ‘In Florida, as in many other parts of the United States, development often trumps maintaining clean-water standards. Florida recently acquired the dubious distinction of having the second-worst drinking water in the nation.’ Photographs of untouched waterways are breathtaking, showcasing abundant wildlife and picturesque and mystic underwater realms. Yet these images evoke a sense of both foreboding and tragedy, especially in Buchanan’s images of meager streams, dried up riverbeds, and ugly swaths of toxic algae slowly choking the life out of once vibrant areas. Stirring images of areas like Central Florida’s Johnson Springs capture a fading beauty still visible through the muck and slime, and help reinforce Buchanan’s argument that Florida’s waters are rapidly running out of time. Rounding out the volume are insightful essays by ecologist Robert L. Knight and Stetson University professor Jason M. Evans, the latter noting that with climate change, ‘it will be impossible to return Florida’s waterways and natural ecosystems to some historical ‘pristine’ state.’ Buchanan’s beautifully rendered volume is a must-have for environmentalists and conservationists.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“To the untrained eye, Buchanan’s photographs capture a recognizably Floridian landscape – puffy white clouds doting an impossibly sunny blue sky, crystal clear water snaking through the lush green marshland. But the longer I sit with her images, ranging in perspective from on land, to aerial, and underwater, the more I feel called to consider the history of the environment that Buchanan is immersed in. These waters provided sustenance to Native populations, and support vital biodiversity to this day.”Lenscratch

I just received this book the other day: a beautiful, big hardcover with Lynne Buchanan’s amazing photos. It’s a startling graphic reminder of the wondrous things that Floridians are given–as well as a wake up call about our responsibility for them. …

Each picture is worth a thousand words. Buy a copy of this book for yourself, and have another sent to your state representative, senator or congressman with a personal note. Give one to your children, grandchildren and your parents. Send this alarm forward in time and back so that we can truly alter prevailing ideas about human progress in this beautiful state and the world, before its too late.”  —Bruce Deterding, Former Senior Legal Analyst for the DEP, and staff to Governor Crist’s Climate Action Team and the Florida House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee

Buchanan’s stirring images of broad, hopeful horizons and the tenacity of nature contrast terrifying close-ups of human impacts… Florida’s Changing Waters captures a fading beauty, still visible, but rapidly running out of time.” —Nancy McCrary, editor, South x Southeast photomagazine (read online)

Read a review of four water books, including Florida’s Changing Waters, on What Will You Remember blog.

Read an interview with essayist Jason Evans, Ph.D. and Lynne Buchanan here, on Stetson University Today.

Read “Photographer Lynne Buchanan on Cherishing Florida’s Waters“ in the Sarasota Magazine.

Read “An e-conversation launches a summer series, “The National Ecology Report” in Our Time Press.