As the White House and Congress seek ways to confront the climate crisis, The Everglades Foundation wants to remind them that funding Everglades Restoration is an effective way of tackling climate change.
America’s Everglades is already a “Carbon Bank,” absorbing and retaining vast quantities of carbon produced by cars, commercial and residential buildings, and coal-fired power plants — with the potential to absorb even more.
The Everglades is composed of a variety of habitats which, when provided sufficient freshwater, function as a sponge absorbing excess carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere. Everglades restoration will protect this unique habitat’s carbon sequestration capacity and help mitigate other effects of climate change such as sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion into South Florida’s drinking water wells.
“One of the most significant things that can be done right now to achieve progress on climate change is to restore America’s Everglades,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation. “This involves shovel-ready water infrastructure projects that will create thousands of jobs as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
To help make the case for this crucial “carbon sequestration” capacity of America’s Everglades in combating climate change, the Palmetto Bay-based foundation recently unveiled a new multi-channel campaign inclusive of digital and national television advertising which asks the question: “How do we make progress on climate change? It starts in America’s Everglades.”
The campaign notes that “the people of Florida came together” on Everglades restoration, with a total of $5 billion invested to date, the ad declares, “Now, it’s Washington’s turn to help, with $725 million a year in matching dollars for Everglades restoration. It’s the fastest way to make the best progress on climate. President Biden, let’s finish the job, together.”
While a fully restored and healthy Everglades is a critical weapon in the fight against climate change, an Everglades deprived of freshwater shifts from being a carbon bank to a carbon producer, emitting carbon through fire or peat soil oxidation. Hence, the need for Everglades restoration to ensure this vital ecosystem receives the freshwater necessary to remain a healthy carbon bank year-round.
“The immense amount of carbon already stored in Everglades’ soils is currently vulnerable to release as greenhouse gas,” said Dr. Steve Davis, the foundation’s senior ecologist and vice president of Communications and Engagement.
“Everglades restoration will not only help to keep that carbon locked up in the soil, but by keeping the Everglades hydrated, we effectively turn on this massive peatland’s capacity to sequester even more carbon from the atmosphere” Dr. Davis added.
“Everglades restoration is by no means the only solution to our planet’s climate crisis,” Eikenberg concluded. “However, restoration of America’s Everglades is one of our best tools in the fight due to the enormity of this ecosystem and that these projects have already been approved by Congress. When considering this in addition to the critical economic and environmental benefits that Everglades restoration provides, it should be viewed as an immediate win-win for our country.”
The Everglades Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to leading efforts to restore and protect the greater Everglades ecosystem. Since its founding in 1993 by a group of local outdoor enthusiasts, the Foundation has become a respected and important advocate for the sustainability of one of the world’s most unique ecosystems. For more information about The Everglades Foundation, visit EvergladesFoundation.org.