Florida and California: Come for the Climate!

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both Florida and California were desperate for new people to come and put down roots. Both states had to battle deeply-ingrained Puritan beliefs that the comfort of year-round warm weather wasn't good for a person. Besides, California was a desert and Florida was a swamp. State boosters and land developers spent decades convincing people that their state was a paradise. California rerouted rivers and built aqueducts to bring water to Los Angeles and San Diego. Florida drained swamps and concentrated on beach access. Both states also pitched the wonders of healthy and delicious fresh oranges and other citrus fruit. And neither state was above criticizing the other.

Both campaigns worked well over the long term. California and Florid are high-population states- ranking first and third among the 50 states. Both became tourist meccas, even before the Disney theme parks. But now that warm semitropical climate is threatened by change. California is dealing with chronic drought, wildfire, and landslides. Florida is increasingly a hurricane magnet, and the rising sea level threatens its most costly real estate. Read about the campaign to settle Florida and California and their precarious status as paradise at the Conversation. -via Smithsonian

(Image source: Covina Public Library)

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