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EvergladesHUB > Nature > Water

At the basis of Florida deep hidden troubles is its rapidly expanding population. The socio-economic concept of perpetual growth is just not sustainable. Urbanization of natural landscapes is actually threatening the people.
 
FLORIDA POPULATION Human numbers -
- population explosion of recent exerts unseen pressures on all resources   
N-E-Florida in 2010

Development in North-East Florida:

In 2010
LEFT


In 2060
RIGHT

NE-FL in 2060
People per Sq.Mile
    Growing

FL Population and Water Uptake

We have been losing the Everglades to misguided development and urbanization.

With it we are losing -
- fresh water
- species,
polluting land and waters

Skye Isle, FL


Yes, Skye Isle, FL does look like this NOW - and other regions - as seen from the projections above - WILL look like that in the near future -

CLICK here for interactive Census 2010
population data

FL Population
TOTAL
White (%)
Hispanic (%)
Afr.Amer. (%)
2005 census
17,789,864 12,465,029 (78.0%) 2,682,715 (16.8%) 2,335,505 (14.6%)
2000 census
15,982,378 increased 11.3% to 2005 and 17.6% to 2010

Florida
POPULATION
2010:

18,8 million

Florida's economy rests on a solid base of tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture. Leading the manufacturing sector are electrical equipment, electronics, printing and publishing, transportation equipment, food processing, and machinery. Oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits lead Florida's agricultural products, followed by potatoes, melons, strawberries, sugar cane, peanuts, dairy products, and cattle..
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   Is Florida the Sunset State ?
  TIME Magazine, (a timeless article - abbreviated)
July 10, 2008 - by Michael Grunwald, Miami             


We have water, water, everywhere, but much of South Florida's per capita use is 50% above the national average, and we've lost half the wetlands that used to recharge our aquifers. Water shortages threaten to limit growth - Florida is astonishingly wasteful. Now the Orlando area is pushing to suck water out of rivers to its north, local utilities are jacking up water rates as much as 35%, and South Florida's water board may cap withdrawals from Everglades aquifers.
Florida's got to change the culture because the status quo is unsustainable. Back in 1995, a 42-member commission stocked with bankers, farmers and developers released a unanimous report declaring South Florida unsustainable, warning that the ecosystem's destruction was hurting people as well as panthers by lowering water tables, increasing flood risks, fueling gridlock and replacing paradise with "mind-numbing homogeneity, and a distinct lack of place."
"Even people who don't give a rat's ass about the panther will care when saltwater comes out of their faucets," says Florida novelist Carl Hiaasen. And that's why Democrats, Republicans, the sugar industry and environmentalists came together in 2000 to support a $12 billion plan to revive the Everglades, the largest ecosystem-restoration project in history, to also provide for a stable water supply.


But quality of life remains the biggest risk to the Florida dream. Less congestion and better education systems in other sunbelt states lure away Northeastern transplants: in 2000, Florida attracted 19% of the nation's migrating seniors; by 2006, it was only 13%. Florida still has some of America's richest ZIP codes, but it ranks among the worst states in school spending and health coverage. The GOP-controlled legislature responds sluggishly to the State's woes and slashed $5 billion from the state budget.
"The Outlook Is Always Bright Here!"
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had predicted a sea-level rise of up to 2 ft. by 2100 but 3 ft. to 4 ft. is apparently much more likely. University of Miami's renowned coastal geologist Harold Wanless showed slides of Miami Beach under water - "That's what we can expect."
The bubbly former Governor Crist, who's like human Prozac, asked, "How can you not be optimistic about Florida ? Is there a more beautiful place on the planet ?"
He's been doing his part for sustainable Florida, pushing a sweeping energy bill through the fractious legislature, fulfilling his pledge to be the "Everglades governor." The Governor's greatest challenge, though, is economic sustainability, attracting high-wage industries like solar power as well as global trade. But not even corporate titans who enjoy Florida vacations seem eager to relocate to a high-priced state with a service-economy workforce and troubled schools.

"The decisions about relocating high-paying businesses are made by people who value education, and Florida isn't ready for the modern economy," says Graham, the former Senator. New corporate subsides will be a tough fiscal sell. "The politicians have told us: Not if it costs money," says Space Coast economic-development director Lynda Weatherman. The shuttle will be canceled in 2010, and her region may lose 6,000 jobs. "Six thousand one, if I can't figure out how to attract new ones," she says.
Still, many people will always want to come to Florida. In anticipation of the next boom, developer Pérez has set up a $1 billion fund to buy distressed properties, and Zalewski of Condo Vultures has been besieged by foreign investors. "Eventually, Florida is going to grow again," he says.
The question is whether it will grow up. If Florida can reinvent itself, it can be the tip of the American spear, showing the nation how to save water and energy, manage growth, restore ecosystems and retool economies in an era of less. But that will require a new kind of reinvention. "We know how to crash and how to recover," says Miami historian Arva Moore Parks. "We don't seem to know how to learn."
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  URBANIZATION REVERSED
  Picayune Strand development returned to its natural state
Rare case     
Picayune Strand country
Picayune Strand country was prepared for development - now it is being restored

Once called the South Golden Gate Estates (Collier County) , the acres of marshes, sloughs and estuarine habitat were destroyed decades ago (1960s) in a failed attempt to develop part of “the world’s largest subdivision.” The restoration activities, carried out by Harry Pepper and Associates of Jacksonville, FL, involve removing more than 227 miles of road, plugging 45 miles of canals, and installing 3 pump stations and spreader swales to aid in rehydration of the wetlands. Once completed, the Picayune Strand project will recreate natural water flows, historic water level conditions and ecological connectivity to the natural lands around it
(see the map).
This CERP project (a 50/50 partnership between the federal government and the State of Florida), overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was initiated in January 2010 and the restoration will revive 55,000 acres of wetland critical to western Florida ecosystem.

Project location
Project location
(
mouse over for enlargement)

Canal plugged
Picayune Strand
canal plugged
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  BOOK

              URBANISM in the age of CLIMATE CHANGE
2010 - by Peter Calthorpe            


Review by Philip Langdon
New Urban News, December 2010
Book by Peter Calthorpe
Island Press, 2011, 152 pp., $49.50 hardcover

"I take it as a given that climate change is an imminent threat and potentially catastrophic," Peter Calthorpe declares in the first sentence of the first chapter of this short and direct book. "The science is now clear that we are day by day contributing to our own demise." To avoid a dismal fate, Calthorpe argues, we will have to realize something that many Americans have yet to understand: "Urbanism is the most cost-effective solution to climate change." Compact, walkable development, backed up by simple conservation technologies, "can have a major impact in reducing carbon emissions and energy demand." Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change is in many respects the summation of the themes that have driven this intense, Berkeley-based architect and planner for nearly 40 years. When I first met Calthorpe in the mid-1980s, he had already made a name for himself by creating buildings that combined energy-efficiency (including passive solar) with careful attention to family and neighborhood well-being. He went on to become an adept regional planner - working at tying the disparate parts of the American metropolis together in ways that would save land and forge a better transportation network - and to help get the Congress for New Urbanism off the ground. If anyone is qualified to tell Americans what to do about global warming and urban patterns, it is Calthorpe. I hadn't realized, until this book, just how daunting is the challenge posed by the combination of a hotter
climate and a tightening of conventional energy supplies

BOOK

. By his calculation, by 2050 each person in the US needs to be emitting "on average just 12 percent of his or her current greenhouse gases." Per capita carbon production must plummet by 88 percent.
It seems impossible to me that Americans will summon the will to achieve such a feat, especially given the nation's truculent political stalemate. Yet Calthorpe never seems disheartened. He doesn't depict a society soon to be irretrievably broken-down, as James Howard Kunstler does in World Made by Hand. The Californian vigorously presses on, laying out a detailed strategy to save humanity.

He predicts that sources of clean energy, though "relatively expensive," will be "available sometime soon."
Those, he says, will have to be teamed up with progress in two areas - lifestyle and conservation - that "are, in the end, our most cost effective and easily available tools." Declares Calthorpe: "Urbanism, along with a simple combination of transit and more efficient buildings and cars, can deliver much of our needed GHG reductions."
The virtue of urbanism
A chief virtue of urbanism, he avers, is that it "naturally tends toward a 'small is beautiful' philosophy." "Compact development does mean smaller yards, fewer cars, and less private space for some. On the other hand, it can dramatically reduce everyday costs and leave more time for family and community." Having recently produced a framework called "Vision California" for authorities in his state, Calthorpe has a wealth of California facts and figures at his command. A "more compact future" would save "an average of 3.4 million acre-feet of water per year - enough to fill the San Francisco Bay annually or to irrigate 5 million acres of farmland." He makes a far more efficient future sound not terribly unsettling. In California, the range of housing choices wouldn't change dramatically. "Specifically, while large single-family lots would decline from 40 percent of the total today to 30 percent in 2050, small-lot homes and bungalows would increase slightly and townhouses and townhomes would double to 25 percent. ...
Many would conclude that this would be a reasonable shift, one ultimately making the housing stock more diverse and affordable - not, as some would argue, the end of the American dream." Calthorpe is excellent at putting technological fixes - a specialty of the gadget-green crowd - into much-needed perspective.
Shifting all our driving to electric cars wouldn't be practical, he documents. In California alone, "it would take 50,000 acres of high-efficiency solar thermal plants, 130,000 acres of photovoltaic panels, or 860,000 acres of wind farms (nearly thirty times the land area of San Francisco) to power such a transportation system."

Elegant, conservation-based ideas "We need to find the simple, elegant solutions that are based on conservation before we introduce complex technology, even if it is green," Calthorpe insists. An example: "Bringing destinations closer together is a simpler, more elegant solution than assembling a new fleet of electric cars and the acres of solar collectors needed to power them. Call it 'passive urbanism.'" Unlike some new urbanists who are comfortable with most traditional ways of doing things, Calthorpe is curious about what goes on in the tech world, and enthusiastic about certain new methods. For example, he advocates, community-scale heat and power systems - local cogeneration plants coupled with district heating and cooling systems. "The point," he says, "is that all of these community-scale systems - whether power, water, waste, or transit - need urbanism to be effective." For Vision California, Calthorpe developed a planning tool called the Urban Footprint, which he says "employs mixed-use place types rather than single-use zones in the land use maps that typically regulate our growth. At the same time that it quantifies the place types, it links them to their key environmental, economic, and social outcomes." The book contains a number of passages like that - so abstract and heavy with planning lingo that they will stop some readers in their tracks. At the same time, the text contains a considerable number of concepts that hard-core new urbanists and smart-growthers already know. The book will be terrific for planning students, environmental specialists, and serious followers of policy debates. For others, Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change is a book not likely be read from cover to cover. Calthorpe's book, 126 pages plus footnotes and other auxiliary matter, is a densely packed, yet concise overview of the troubling situation we all find ourselves in. It captures the essentials of the climate crisis and advances a thoroughly documented argument about how global warming might be held at bay - all while making readers aware of what's good about urban life. Read it and you'll understand the big picture.
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