Land into Water--Water into Land: A History of Water Management in Florida

By Nelson Manfred Blake | Go to book overview

9 Environmentalists to the Recue

I n 1974 Patrick Caddell, a political pollster soon to be employed by Jimmy Carter, reported that attitudes in Florida had "dramatically changed." A "new issue structure" appeared to be emerging with "'Quality of Life' replacing 'Quantity of Life,' with environmental concerns clashing with economic concerns." People interviewed in other states gave priority to pocketbook issues like inflation, food prices, and unemployment. "Yet in Florida these issues have been overwhelmed by the issues of growth, overpopulation, pollution, water shortages, etc. This is not to say economic and other concerns are not important issues, but the surprising point is the overwhelming saliency of the environmental issue."1

If Caddell was right, if environmentalism had become not a mere piety but smart politics, why had this occurred? The shift in Florida was, of course, part of a national trend. Particularly among the young, the 1960s had been a period of rising concern over technology's threat to nature. Pesticides were killing the birds; detergents were fouling the rivers; automobile exhaust was contaminating the air. The new-style environmentalists were the heirs of the earlier preservationists. Like them, they longed to halt the rape of nature and preserve the unspoiled wilderness. But they were more sophisticated in assessing the threats. If people were to have safe food to eat, pure water to drink, and clean air to breathe, the environmentalists had to stand guard against a variety of enemies -- manufacturers who adulterated food, factories that dumped industrial wastes into rivers and lakes, power plants that allowed noxious fumes to pour out of their smokestacks; campers and boaters who dumped sewage into the streams; motorists and hikers who cluttered the roadside with empty cans. Concern over these issues was everywhere on the rise, and Congress and the state legislatures were passing protective legislation.

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Land into Water--Water into Land: A History of Water Management in Florida
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Watery Eden 9
  • 2 - Early Boosters 19
  • 3 - The Big Dealers 42
  • 4 - The Flow Of Northern Dollars 62
  • 5 - The Progressive Challenge 88
  • 6 - Time of Troubles 113
  • 7 141
  • 8 - Struggle for Conservation 166
  • 9 - Environmentalists To The Recue 195
  • 10 - Florida Takes the Lead 223
  • 11 - Rival Prescriptions For South Florida 253
  • 12 - Water for the Future 276
  • Notes 303
  • Index 331
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