500 sheets of high-quality watercolor paper. A baby hippopotamus. 17 gallons of milk. What do all of these things have in common?
They each weigh less than the 152 lbs of sugar each American consumes per year on average.
Unfortunately, sugar production takes massive amounts of land and water, and it has been particularly disruptive to the natural ecosystems it displaces.
Is our appetite for sugar threatening the Florida Everglades?
History of the Everglades
Lake Okeechobee releases water every wet season into the River of Grass we call the Everglades, feeding the two million acre subtropical wetlands. Home to over 360 species of bird, including the endangered word stork, snail kite, and Cape Sable seaside sparrow, as well as alligators, crocodiles, and diverse plant life, the Everglades supports an ecosystem that dearly needs its home.
The Everglades has been the subject of conservation efforts since the 1940s, a point at which its rich and delicate ecosystem had already long been in jeopardy. Human interference in the Everglades has been shaving away at its natural state since the 1800s, and that’s showing no sign of stopping.
Sugar Industry and the Everglades
Sugarcane cultivation requires warm climates, which, in 1920, marked Florida as an ideal candidate. The Sugar Act of 1934 and the loss in imported sugar after the Cuban Revolution pushed sugar cultivation into the Everglades, taking land and polluting water with phosphorus that feeds invasive plant growth.
What Can We Do?
Conservation efforts by the Florida government are already underway, but there are more ways for individuals to help:
- Cut down on sugar consumption.
- Switch to products like agave, honey, stevia, xylitol, and other natural replacements for sugar to cut down on the demand for sugar production.
- Support environmental groups. Many environmental organizations are working to restore and protect life native to the Everglades. To succeed, these groups need community sponsorship and support.
- Friends of the Everglades
- The Center for Biological Diversity
- The Everglades Coalition
See the Natural Wonder of This Beautiful Area on an Airboat Tour of the Everglades
Reading about the Everglades is one thing. Experiencing them on an airboat ride is another. Appreciating in person the natural beauty we have is the biggest personal connection we can forge with the land and helps reaffirm our commitment to the land we seek to protect.
An airboat tour of the Everglades offers an opportunity to meet the River of Grass and to go home with a renewed commitment to its ecological conservation. Fall in love with this vibrant place as we work to keep it alive for another generation to visit. To take an airboat tour of the Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, call Captain Bill at Cypress Outdoor Adventures today! 954-260-1096