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Illusions: A Lens into Our Fragile Freshwater | Jennifer Adler | TEDxJacksonville

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Published on Dec 1, 2015

In Florida, we spend our lives walking on water. This precious resource is threatened, yet it is out of the public eye. Hidden in the aquifer below, water winds its way through limestone tunnels that few will ever experience, and where this water makes its way to the surface, it forms the highest density of freshwater springs in the world. But instead of seeing that the springs are fragile and degrading, we see a watery peninsula filled with lakes, wetlands and river–an illusion of abundance.

Underwater photography can help change this illusion and mend the disconnect between our lives aboveground and the aquifer below. Photographs speak without words or political bias, allowing people to make their own conclusions and empowering people to make informed decisions about this threatened resource. By giving people a novel view of our drinking water, both deep in the aquifer and in the sunlit springs, photos can help us fundamentally change our perspectives on water.

Jennifer Adler spent her childhood in a permanently salty state–from exploring tide pools and splashing in the waves, to sailing competitively throughout college, the ocean defined her. Two days later, with visions of sandy beaches and palm trees in her mind, she arrived 1,244 miles south . . . and 74 miles inland. She studied the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and dinosaur-like sturgeon fish in the Suwannee River, and it was the sweltering summer field days of netting sturgeon in the foreign fresh waters of north Florida that first acquainted her with the springs. These incredible ecosystems immediately swept her off her feet, and she started exploring, researching, and documenting them through photography. To see a little deeper, she eventually earned her cave diving certification and is endlessly fascinated by the winding tunnels of the aquifer.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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