I don’t know if you have seen it yet, but Florida is celebrating its 500th anniversary since the first European, Ponce de Leon, entered La Florida and proclaimed it as belonging to Spain.
As we all know, there are people still moving into Florida from somewhere else; 1,000 people move to the Sunshine State every day.
Some statistics about the population:
- 19% were born in another country (like me),
- Two-thirds of the population were born in another state,
- There are fewer Native Americans in Florida (0.5 % compared to 1.2 %) than in the U.S. as a whole.
As a matter of fact, the median person living in Florida today is a 38-year-old white female whose ancestors came from Northern Europe (from German ancestors, 11.8%, Irish 10.3%, English 9.2% and then American, with its 8%). Sounds like me.
I was 39 years old when I moved “over here.” Who would have guessed I was a standard inhabitant?
With this history, that is similar to our own, but still light-years (sunbeams) away, how do we create a new history, a feeling of belonging here and a wish to respect and protect Florida as our own backyard?
I think the answer is spelled as "community." A quick look at the definition of community is:
“A common definition of community emerged as a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings”.
Today's communities don’t have to be geographically close, or even in a physical person, they might as well be online; to share the same interest with people all over the world.
To be a diver means you belong to the dive community, no matter where you are. When you meet another diver you know you share the love of nature, the love of water, the love of the underwater world. You know what to talk about; the water temperature, the visibility and how high the waves are, about new historic places, artifacts or ship wrecks discovered somewhere on this planet. You talk about traveling, about boating, about new technology, about weird creatures you saw on your last dive or that the Japanese found the other day. The list of subjects to talk about is long.
Our first dive club meeting was on Wednesday the 16th of January at cozy Pia´s Trattoria and the next meeting will also be there Wednesday the 13th of February at 7 pm. If you are interested in scuba diving and/or snorkeling, please feel free to join us!
Thanks to you who came last Wednesday to make this evening the most enjoyable social event here in Gulfport so far for us newcomers! We are looking forward to seeing you again!
More interesting statistics about Florida: http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=95