Segment: Working with the FDE

Source: Interview with Jack Kaufman: journalist, member of the Florida Defenders of the Environment and UF Zoology professor.  Kaufman joined the Florida Defenders of the Environment in 1970 with Marjorie Carr

Link to Audio: SPC935_3

Length of Segment: 00:03:20

Interviewer: “What kind of personal satisfactions have you experienced in working with this organization?”

Jack: “I’m a very reluctant member of FDE. Marge, you still have to keep twisting my arm. I think some of the members of FDE have the sort of personality they enjoy this kind of conflict. I think Joe Little enjoys it. I think Dave Anthony enjoys it. I don’t. I sort of have to be dragged into the arena each time, like Ferdinand the Bull. I don’t enjoy this kind of battle. I do it because, I can’t sleep if I don’t do it.  But I don’t enjoy going giving testimony, going to public hearing or arguing with these people on TV. I don’t enjoy it at all.  I think some of the members do. I think some people…that fits in well with their personality. I think they like to do it. I think they get a kick out of doing it. Wish I did.”

Interviewer: “What aspect about it or is there any aspect that you do enjoy, and if so, what is it?”

Jack: “I guess the most enjoyable thing about working with a group like this is the people you work with, meeting people like Margie and Katie Bowers and people like that. Of course, the other side is the people you meet on the other side!  It can be pretty bad. I was almost attacked on the floor of the Cabinet Room one day in a public hearing in Tallahassee before the Governor and the Cabinet. And I was almost literally bodily attacked by a pro-canal advocate because of something I had said in my testimony. He rushed up to the front of the room, at the end of my testimony and I really thought he was going to start a fight right there in front of the Governor and the Cabinet. So, you run into the best of people and the worst of people, in this sort of organization.”

Interviewer: “Tell me a little bit more about what you like working with the people here, like Marjorie and Katie?

Jack: “Well, first of all, they’re just nice people. It seems the people involved in the environmental movement are really nice people, the sort of people we want for friends, under any circumstances. But, beyond that, it’s the level of their commitment. It’s a mutual commitment that keeps each other going, I think. Everybody…a lot of people are putting in more time than they can really afford, I think,  and have put in more effort than they have to give and a lot of them, like me, I don’t think really enjoy this, but I think we sustain each other because of the mutual commitment in the sense that…a sense of outrage at the things that are trying to be put over on the public and the determination not to let this be put over. And so, I think there is a lot of satisfaction in working with people like this and then when you win, it’s a sort of unexpected bonus at the end, for some of us, I think. Margie always expects to win. I think Margie is as optimistic as I am pessimistic. I am sort of at the opposite end of the scale. She always expects to win and I always expect to lose and then if we win, I am pleasantly surprised. But, I think, if Margie wasn’t there, expecting to win and inspiring us all, I don’t think any of this would get off the ground. If it wasn’t for somebody like Margie, heading it up and inspiring the other people to push on, I think most of us, probably, would have given up somewhere along the way, probably wouldn’t have pushed this through as far as it’s gone.”