This company already owns the largest shopping mall in the United States (the “Mall of America“), and the largest shopping mall in all of North America (the “West Edmonton Mall“). According to the article, the plan is to include – in what is planned to be even bigger, greater, more spectacular than the ‘other’ malls the company already owns – skiing, sea lion shows, and even a synthetic lake for taking submarine rides. My first reaction to this information was, “why?”
It’s Florida, after all. There is plenty of water all over the place. Although most tourists go to Florida with the intention of staying above the water (sailing, water skiing, sunbathing, Spring Break, etc.); if one really wanted to go under water with a submarine, a man-made lake isn’t really necessary. It’s as if the proposed shopping mall is meant to be a testament to human triumph and superiority over Nature: a fantastic illusion, the pursuit of which has historically managed to dig us deeper and deeper into trouble. Instead, I think it will more aptly serve as a testament to how humans have learned to exploit human nature: walk in, be over-awed with mind-numbing amazement and spectaculum, fork out money, and most importantly, consume.
I understand this endeavor will likely bring jobs to Florida; but I find myself wondering whether or not more jobs could also be generated by protecting or even trying to rebuild Florida’s threatened Everglades Ecosystem, or other wildlife areas that are threatened due to our encroachment and mismanagement. Rebuilding these ecosystems in such a way so that responsible tourism could be included would generate revenue for the state, education for the masses, plus all of the money that would be brought in with the required and resulting research. This would be better for Florida in the long run, and I find myself thinking that a company with billions of dollars to throw around, with a genuine interest in people, might take the lead and demonstrate a greater degree of responsibility than simply trying to build spectacular mockeries of Nature for the sake of exploiting the consumer urge. It’s perplexing, but only somewhat so.