By Bruce Babbitt

In this fantastic, gracefully written, and critical new publication, former Secretary of the internal and Governor of Arizona Bruce Babbitt brings clean thought--and clean air--to questions of ways we will construct a destiny we wish to reside in.

We've all skilled America's altering ordinary panorama because the integrity of our forests, seacoasts, and river valleys succumbs to strip department stores, new roads, and subdivisions. Too usually, we think that after land is constructed it's perpetually misplaced to the average world--or desire patchwork of neighborhood conservation options can in some way delay opposed to additional large-scale development.

In Cities within the Wilderness, Bruce Babbitt makes the case for why we want a countrywide imaginative and prescient of land use. We can have an area application, he issues out, yet right here at domestic we do not have an open-space coverage that may stability the desires for human cost and group with these for maintenance of the flora and fauna upon which lifestyles relies. but this sort of stability, the writer demonstrates, is as remarkably possible because it is important. this can be no demand constructing a brand new federal forms; Babbitt exhibits in its place how a lot can be--and has been--done through making considerate and valuable use of legislation and associations already in place.

A hallmark of the booklet is the author's skill to check creative imaginative and prescient with sensible realizing. Babbitt attracts on his broad event to take us behind the curtain negotiating the Florida Everglades recovery undertaking, the biggest ever licensed via Congress. In California, we find how the Endangered Species Act, nonetheless some of the most powerful legislation governing land use, has been hired to revive nearby habitat. within the Midwest, we see how new international exchange association laws may be used to aid fix Iowa's farmlands and rivers. As a key architect of many environmental luck tales, Babbitt unearths how huge recovery initiatives have thrived via federal- nation partnership and the way their rules should be prolonged to different elements of the country.

Whether writing of land use as mirrored within the Gettysburg battlefield, the motion picture Chinatown, or in presidential political technique, Babbitt supplies us clean perception. during this inspiring and informative e-book, Babbitt units his lens to panoramic--and bargains a imaginative and prescient of land use as grand because the country's typical heritage.

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Extra info for Cities in the Wilderness: A New Vision of Land Use in America

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The initial boundaries of Everglades National Park were set in 1947, at a time when much less was known about the complex hydrology of wetland ecosystems and the rivers that feed into them. Park planners concentrated their gaze and their pencils on the land, not the water, and they assumed that a million acres —about the size of a big western national park like Grand Canyon or Yosemite — would be sufficient to preserve the character of the region and its wildlife. It was becoming increasingly clear by the 1990s that those assumptions were wrong.

More surface storage would mean buying still more sugar plantations for conversion to wetlands. The Corps was just not willing to risk any more political controversy over additional land acquisition. Without more land, though, the only alternative was to store the water underground by injecting it into the deep aquifers around Lake Okeechobee. Never shy about spending money to circumvent controversy, the Corps proposed constructing, at a cost of nearly two billion dollars, five hundred large injection wells to store water underground, from where it could be pumped back out and delivered onto the land in times of drought.

The president was a lame duck and the chances for passing any further Everglades legislation, enacting the Corps restoration plan into law, seemed remote. But by June, I realized that I had again underestimated our chances of success. I had overlooked the upcoming presidential election. Florida with its twenty-six electoral votes had emerged as a swing state, one that might well determine the next president. And our eight years of unrelenting effort had transformed the Everglades into a front-page political issue that could affect the outcome.

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