Do We Really Need Another Walmart More Than We Need Wildlife?
It doesn’t get much more David versus Goliath than this: In South Florida endangered butterflies and bats are clinging to the last remaining pine rockland forest habitat where a developer wants to build yet another strip mall, complete with Walmart and Chick-fil-A.
The development — with the shamelessly ironic name of Coral Reef Commons — also includes 900 “high quality” apartments, which could leave rare species like the Florida leafwing butterfly and Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak searching for a new home. Although these two species just gained protection under the Endangered Species Act, their habitat options are rapidly disappearing. Literally. The site for the new Walmart & Friends sits on priceless habitat reduced to just 2 percent of its original size. As if that’s not enough, the butterflies are also threatened by sea-level rise from climate change in other areas of the state.
It doesn’t matter how many solar panels Walmart might add to its new location, Florida’s threatened wildlife needs its habitat far more than it needs yet another development causing more emissions, more traffic, more pollution and more overconsumption.
So, what about humans? Do we really need another Walmart more than we need biodiversity?
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