Press release from Alachua County
The Alachua County Environmental Protection Advisory Committee (EPAC) is hosting a community conversation related to various issues associated with population growth in Florida over the next 50 years. The discussion is on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is virtual using Zoom (Meeting ID: 850 3377 8314). Participants can call in by dialing 929-205-6099.
The presenter is Paul Owens, President of 1000 Friends of Florida (a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable development). Paul came to 1000 Friends from the Orlando Sentinel, where he served as the newspaper’s Opinions Editor from 2013 to 2018 and as an editorial writer from 2002-2013. At the Sentinel, Paul wrote extensively on growth management, environment, and quality of life issues facing Florida. In addition to serving as Opinions Editor, Paul was the Sentinel’s Florida Forward Moderator, organizing and moderating public forums on topics including transportation and affordable housing. Paul has a master’s degree in journalism from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in history with honors from Swarthmore College.
Projections from the University of Florida indicate Florida’s growth will add ten million or more people over the next half-century. If Florida continues its current development pattern, more than a third of the state will be developed by 2070.
President Paul Owens noted, “If Florida pursues more compact development — a modest 20% increase — and more aggressively protects wildlife corridors and other environmentally valuable property, the state will retain millions of acres of natural and agricultural land. Florida’s environment, wildlife, quality of life, and economy will benefit.”
EPAC provides an opportunity for citizen involvement on environmental issues and concerns affecting residents of the County. It advises the County Commission on appropriate measures to safeguard air and water resources and responsible management of public lands and resources.