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Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss (Florida History and Culture) Hardcover – March 1, 2009


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Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss (Florida History and Culture) + The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise
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Product Details

  • Series: Florida History and Culture
  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida; First Edition edition (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813032865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813032863
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an exhaustive, timely, and devastating account of the destruction of Florida's wetlands and the disgraceful collusion of government at all levels. It's an important book that should be read by every voter, every taxpayer, every parent, every Floridian who cares about saving what's left of this precious place." - Carl Hiaasen "Pittman and Waite pulled the lid off federal and state wetlands regulation in Florida and peered deep into the cauldron of 'mitigation,' 'no net loss,' 'banking,' and the rest of the regulatory stew. This is an eye-opening, must-read book." - J. B. Ruhl"

Book Description

What is happening to Florida's "protected" wetlands?

 

"This is an exhaustive, timely, and devastating account of the destruction of Florida's wetlands, and the disgraceful collusion of government at all levels. It's an important book that should be read by every voter, every taxpayer, every parent, every Floridian who cares about saving what's left of this precious place."--Carl Hiaasen

 

"Pittman and Waite pulled the lid off federal and state wetlands regulation in Florida and peered deep into the cauldron of 'mitigation,' 'no net loss,' 'banking,' and the rest of the regulatory stew. For anyone interested in wetlands generally, and in Florida environmental issues in particular, this is an eye-opening, must-read book."--J. B. Ruhl

 

Since 1990, every president has pledged to protect wetlands, and Florida possesses more than any state except Alaska. And yet, since that time Florida has lost more than 84,000 acres of wetlands that help replenish the water supply and protect against flooding.

 

How and why the state’s wetlands are continuing to disappear is the subject of Paving Paradise. Journalists Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite spent nearly four years investigating the political expedience, corruption, and negligence on the part of federal and state agencies that led to a failure to enforce regulations on developers. They traveled throughout the state, interviewed hundreds of people, dug through thousands of documents, and analyzed satellite imagery to identify former wetlands that were now houses, stores, and parking lots.

 

The result was an award-winning series, "Vanishing Wetlands," of more than twenty stories in the St. Petersburg Times, exposing the unseen environmental consequences of rampant sprawl. Expanding their work into book form in the tradition of Michael Grunwald's The Swamp, Pittman and Waite explain how wetland protection has become a taxpayer-funded program that creates the illusion of environmental protection while doing little to stem the tide of destruction.

 


More About the Author

Craig Pittman, author of the twisted and amazing new non-fiction book "The Scent of Scandal," is a native Floridian. Born in Pensacola, he graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for Florida's largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times), where his coverage has won both state and national awards. A series he co-wrote with Matthew Waite became their book, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," published in 2009. Since then Pittman has written "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species" (2010), which the Florida Humanities Council declared an "essential read" for all Floridians, and "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchids," which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution declared "irresistible."

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Ezell on February 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
IMO, Paving Paradise should be required reading for all DEP and ACOE employees, all water management district employees, all regional planning council members, all legislators, cabinet members, all elected officials in the state, the Governor and his staff, all developers and real estate brokers and agents. St. Joe and Lennar come to mind immediately. Craig Pittman is my favorite Florida writer, and his work shines in this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who cares about the Sunshine State.
Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss (Florida History and Culture)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Susan I. Cerulean on March 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite explain why bulldozed and buried wetlands underlie the foundations of thousands of mines, highways, golf courses and shopping malls all over Florida, despite clear federal and state policy calling for no net loss of wetlands. This probing, well-crafted narrative will keep you turning every page of Paving Paradise. The prize-winning pair of St. Petersburg Times will help you understand the "topsy-turvy world where a minus can equal a plus, dry land masquerades as wet, and supposedly scientific test results don't count if they yield an undesirable answer." It might sound depressing, but the truth can help us move forward, or at least have that choice!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alan Farago on March 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pittman and Waite's book, "Paving Paradise", is a major contribution -- not just to Florida-- but to anyone absorbed in trying understand what went wrong with the national economy. Through a fine microscope, the writers lay bare the fraud and mismanagement of risk, related to wetlands destruction, that was a necessary piece of the decision tree leading up to Wall Street fees, bonuses, and compensation in the billions. In other words, this is not just a book about wetlands: it is the story of a society whose values went straight off the rails, all under the lazy eye of regulators and politicians who lacked the will to protect citizens and taxpayers. Read this book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Mooney on March 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
From three-decades as government employee -- county, state and federal -- I felt like a streetwalker reading about $5,000-an-hour "escorts" who portray they are providing a valuable public service. This says it all (from page 167): "One of the areas hardest hit was the western side of the Everglades, where the Corps cranked out permits allowing the destruction of some 4,000 acres of swamps and marshes, even as it drew up plans to spend billions of dollars repairing the damage done by man to the eastern side of the River of Grass."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gulfcoaster on March 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Craig Pittman and Matt Waite obviously appreciate the irony in the lies they have been told while they were documenting the truth about the decades of reckless bulldozing of Florida's precious wetlands. That sense of humor makes it possible to read their exhaustive account of the corrupt ways developers repeatedly circumvented laws and regulations to destroy irreplaceable natural resources in order to make a lot of fast bucks. Floridians need to read this book to understand what has happened and is still happening to the wild places and the water supply in the state. Non-Floridians should read it to find out how to keep this from happening elsewhere. "Paving Paradise" is a compelling non-fiction cautionary tale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Oliver on October 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an easy -almost- fun read if it didn't cover the sad topic of the destruction of Florida's wetlands. It is not too technical but covers the history of wetland regulations and the more recent government programs to slow loss and restore wetlands in the U.S. My favorite aspect of the book is that the author includes tons of quotes from key politicans and regulators that highlight the battle for continued development (in wetlands) and the view that their is value in saving Florida's remaining wetlands.
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