Higher Population Has Downside
By Tom Palmer
The exuberance that has accompanied talk of Florida’s expected surpassing of New York to become the country’s third most populous state should be tempered by its environmental consequences.
Florida has certainly changed in my lifetime.
When I was a boy in 1950, Florida ranked 20th in population. New York was first.
Since then, Florida has grown in population from 2.8 million to 19.3 million.
One of the biggest changes in Florida has been in the landscape.
The change is more striking on the coast. I have a concrete basis of comparison in both the literal and figurative sense.
One of my favorite childhood photos was taken at the edge of the surf at New Smyrna Beach in the late 1940s.
In the background are dunes and native vegetation. Behind the dunes were beach houses.
Today the dunes and beach houses are gone. They’ve given way to seawalls and high rises.
That growth has squeezed coastal wildlife into preserves that have been set aside here and there, though a few try to make a living along developed sections where they can.
To read the full opinion, please click here: http://www.theledger.com/article/20140111/COLUMNISTS0503/140119815/-1/archive?p=1&tc=pg&tc=ar
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