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How Southwest Florida' s business community got woke about water

For too long in Florida, environmental advocacy was viewed as the domain of tree-huggers and eco-nuts.

Full-time environmentalists carried the torch for cleaner water and more open spaces, occasionally scoring a policy win — but more often losing ground as armies of industry lobbyists shaped the legislative agenda in Tallahassee.

Then, in 2018, thousands of businesses in Southwest Florida banded together to push for clean water.

Spurred by a deadly confluence of red tide and toxic blue-green algae blooms, they educated themselves on water quality. They found a unified voice to push for stricter pollution limits.

As the kids say, they got woke.

And it had a tangible impact on Florida politics.