Florida was discovered in 1513 by the Spanish explorers. Later, Florida would be held at different times by Spain and England until Spain finally sold it to the United States in 1819. Florida’s history in the early 19th century was marked by wars, which did not end until 1842.
Florida was admitted to the Union in 1845 as a slaveholding state. In 1860 proslavery sentiment in Florida led the state to secede from the Union in 1861, but was readmitted to the Union in 1868.
Florida has seven floral zones. The state is known for its wide variety of palms like the royal and coconut. Pine, dense mangrove thickets are abundant. Hardwood forests include varieties of rattan, magnolia and oak. Rare plants include bougainvillea and oleander. All species of cacti and orchids are regarded as threatened, as are most types of ferns and palms.
The white-tailed deer, wild hog, gray fox, raccoon, cottontail, swamp rabbits remain common. Florida’s bird population includes the mocking bird, bobwhite quail, wild turkey, several varieties of heron, gulls, and pelicans.
The state’s unusually long list of threatened and endangered wildlife includes American crocodile, six species of sea turtle, red-cockaded woodpecker, Florida panther, key deer, woodrat, snail kite, two species of sparrow, salt marsh snake, eastern indigo snake, tree snail and swallowtail butterfly.
The state, along with the Department of Environmental Protection, vacation home companies, resorts and convention centers, and energy centers, is taking active measures to help Florida go ‘green’.
To become truly sustainable, the state is equally addressing social sustainability, economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability. The state defines ‘green’ with use of clean, renewable, energy efficient, biomass products; with pollution control and prevention; use of advanced materials. Some of the initiatives taken in the energy industry are carbon capture, carbon sequestration, and carbon compression; clean coal technology; digital conversion; plant conversion, that is, coal to natural gas; water management; coal gasification.
The goal of Sustainable Initiatives Programs is to promote sustainability in Florida businesses, schools, and homes like using reusable stainless steel bottles, reusable shopping bags; installing digital thermostats; switching to CFLs; using nontoxic, natural bug sprays; buying rechargeable batteries; seeking organic foods; choosing Energy Star qualified electrical items; upgrading home appliances to higher energy saving units; conserving electricity; conserving water; saving trees; buying green equipments; saving fuel with hybrid vehicles and using bio-diesel fuel, etc.