Florida painter, Everglades, Marco Island, artist Jo-Ann Sanborn


US Sugar, Florida, On Separate Sides daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

On Separate Sides
5x7, acrylic on Canvas
$150 framed

It's time we began thinking of our native wilderness lands and watershed areas as valuable resources. Valuable as in "money"! If we factor in the economic impact of such areas as the Everglades to our local economy, we would see how short-sighted it is to delay the purchase and restoration of environmentally important lands by making short-sighted budgeting decisions.

According to The Conservancy of Florida's Vice Chairman Andrew Hill, Atlantic University just published a report on the economic value of the Everglades. They found that the total impact of ecotourism in 2007 was 1.8 billion dollars. Sport Fishing adds another 5 billion to that!

Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico are already suffering from overuse. Tourists who suffer respiratory problems from a bloom of red tide, or who experience disgusting fish kills are unlikely to return to our formerly pristine beaches.

Florida and US Sugar are in court determining how Florida will move forward in obtaining land many believe is vital to our environment. It's also vital to our economy. By acquiring US Sugar lands and restoring water flow to the Everglades, the state can provide wildlife habitat, replenish parched farmland, protect coastal estuaries and put the "river" back into the River of Grass.

The stakeholders in this issue have varied and conflicting needs, yet the alternative of doing business as usual will destroy both our environment and our economy. Let's get this purchase done!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That information on ecotourism, and your thoughts and paintings of the glades are inspirational. As with the beauty of the glades and locales of Florida, we often do not realize their economic and intrinsic value before they are bulldozed. Yes, by most accounts and research, the US Sugar acquisition has benefits for the ecology and its reduced footprint is better for Ag and the communities. Recently I saw the colorful healthy vibrancy of the glades area's rich vegetable crops, contrasted to colorful wildlife...you have so many scenes to paint and speak to.

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