This Earth Day, Let’s Celebrate Our Most Important Natural Resource: Water
It is essential to life. It covers about 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and comprises approximately 50 percent of the human body. It is our respite on a hot summer’s day, our playground, and our livelihood.
In addition to nourishing our thirst, cleaning our bodies, and washing our clothes and dishes, water drives our local economy. It is the gleaming waters and pristine beaches of South Florida that drive people to visit, settle down and stay.
Where does our freshwater come from? Here in Miami-Dade, the Everglades recharges the Biscayne Aquifer – a vast underground river made up of highly permeable limestone. Municipalities then pull the freshwater from the aquifer via wells, bring it to a quality standard, and deliver it to our homes.
For 30 years now, The Everglades Foundation has prioritized educating Floridians about our water and the Everglades. We are the leading non-profit organization working to restore and protect America’s Everglades through science, advocacy and education.
Perhaps you’ve seen the Foundation’s billboards and social media content reminding you that “Your Water Comes from the Everglades.”
You can live a lifetime in Miami-Dade without ever visiting the Everglades or stepping on an airboat, but this three million-acre subtropical wetland ecosystem is the source of every drop of water that comes out of your tap.
Simply put, with no Everglades, there is no drinking water for the millions of people who live here in South Florida – and without water, this paradise that we love would not exist.
The Foundation is relentless in our efforts to educate the public about where our water comes from because we must know what is at stake when the Everglades is under threat. Battered by nutrient pollution, the Everglades is parched in the dry season, with most of its natural water flow siphoned off to accommodate development and agriculture.
The Foundation helped make restoring America’s Everglades a national priority in 2000, when we urged Congress to approve the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). This plan is comprised of 68 jointly funded federal-state public works projects including reservoirs, pump stations and canals.
As important as Everglades restoration is, progress during the early years fell victim to funding shortages at the federal or state level – or both – and lack of political will.
Since 2016, widespread public outrage over environmental harm has fueled demands for action and, happily, both federal and state governments have responded. The Everglades Foundation has been able to celebrate its 30th birthday this year amid record bipartisan funding from both Tallahassee and Washington for restoration projects. For the first time in a generation, we are realizing true momentum.
For movement to continue, however, each of us needs to become engaged in the effort. Every one of us, from Aventura to Homestead, has a lot at stake in the effort to restore America’s Everglades and, in so doing, preserve the source of water that gives life to all of us.
To learn more about The Everglades Foundation, find us on social media and visit the Foundation’s website at EvergladesFoundation.org sign-up for our newsletter. We also offer a free PreK-12 Everglades curriculum on our education website EvergladesLiteracy.org.
This Earth Day, take the challenge to learn more about the source of YOUR WATER, this unique ecosystem we have in our backyard, and teach others about it.
Check out the article on Miami Community News.