Advocacy for Conservation of Land

October 15, 2017

It is odd to think of a for profit business as an environmental advocate. Wild Heart Ecojourneys hopes to break the mold and innovate new ways to stimulate and connect the local economy with preservation of land and ecotourism at the forefront. We want people to know that investing in our company means a return from protecting the environment. By supporting Wild Heart Ecojourneys, you support the wild beauty of the Western Everglades. This is why we prefer tours on state lands and take you out into wildlife management areas. We want everyone to see how we benefit from the presence of Florida's wildlife, big and small. Here we have a unique opportunity to get closer to charismatic wildlife than most any other place in the United States of America and we are very proud of that.

 

As a part of the Florida Conservation Coalition, we have the distinguished change to hear, learn, and know more about the environmental health issues facing the Floridian population. One of the current topics that we have a direct interest in is the acquisition of land to be used for water and wildlife conservation

 

In Southwest Florida, conservation land accounts for a major portion of the region. Through Florida’s Water and Land Conservation Amendment* (known as Amendment One) passed in 2014, the state originally aspired to restore land conservation funding. The Land Acquistion Trust Fund is supposed to be dedicated to preserve environmentally sensitive and ecologically significant areas. Unfortunately for Florida residents, this has not been the case. Less than 4% of these funds have actually been used for their designated purpose.

We advocate for this preservation, as the expanding ecotourism industry provides Southwest Florida with a significant contribution to local economy. Allocating more land allows wildlife a safe haven to repopulate current ecotourist hotspots. Core habitat areas lead to an increase in charismatic species, drawing more tourists.

Nature also provides positive benefits to mental health. With more natural areas to exercise, stress levels are proven to go down as residents spend more time outside.

Aside from these anthropogenic reasons, the environment sustains many priceless services. Water filtration, storm protection, and sequestering carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere are just a few of these processes. Despite current efforts, humans cannot artificially induce these necessary utilities efficiently.

It is up to us, the current residents of Southwest Florida, to maintain and increase awareness of how the state is designating land use and manipulating our natural resources. We are responsible for holding our elected officials accountable for keeping their promises to preserve Florida’s conservation agenda.

*[https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Water_and_Land_Conservation_Initiative,_Amendment_1_(2014)]

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