Save the Everglades... faster | University of Oxford
OSB archive
OSB archive

Save the Everglades... faster

Pete Wilton

It's easy to think there are two main roadblocks to saving wild habitats, apathy and money, but a new report into conservation in the Everglades suggests a third: bureaucracy.

According to New York Times the report suggests that Florida's unique 'river of grass' is rapidly reaching the point of no return. The gloomy prognosis is that a combination of human encroachment and delays caused by red tape mean that too many species will be lost before definitive action is taken.

NYT's Damien Cave writes that the long-term plan is for an environmental Florida purchase: 'negotiating a proposed $1.75 billion purchase of nearly 300 square miles of farmland from the United States Sugar Corporation to add storage space for millions of gallons of water south of Lake Okeechobee.'

For the Everglades ecosystem this purchase literally can't come soon enough. And if the US can't mobilise quickly enough to save a unique ecosystem on its own doorstep then what hope is there for poorer countries?

Reading about the brave efforts of the Army Corps of Engineers to realise the hugely ambitious Florida plans it makes me wonder whether we don't need some sort of environmental rapid reaction force - a green equivalent of UN peacekeepers - to bridge the gap between fast-moving environmental problems and the ability of governments to respond in time.