Feb 26 2010 03:40 pm

Posted by under EnvProblems

The Destruction of the Everglades

According to the National Park Service, the Everglades National Park, is “the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, [and] boasts rare and endangered species. It [also] has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, significant to all people of the world”.

Water in the southern tip of Florida used to flow freely to Lake Okeechobee and further south through the everglades, with the origional water sheet covering over 11,000 square miles. For thousands of years, before human involvement, this delicate system remained in balance in terms of nutrients, “biological infastructure”. However, upon the colonization of Florida, and the push for further expansion, this balance was disrupted. In an attempt to prevent flooding and protect homes as well as lives, the government built multiple canals and flood control walls to divert water away from the everglades. This however, only further increased the severity of storms and floods. Only then did scientists as well as government officals really realize the extent and consquences of their actions.

The Everglades are home to many unique animals that are found no where else in the United States — and nearly all of them are severely threatened. For example, due to the numerous roads in the Everglades, alligators and American crocodiles in an attempt to cross the roads are being killed. Also, the American Panther is extremely endangered and will most likely go extinct in the near future.

I believe that the Everglades are just another example of our societies failure to recognize the consequences of our actions, and the extent to which we can effect the environment. For a long time, I think people have believed and have preferred to believe that we have no effect on our environment and that it was impossible that we should be able to significantly change the biosphere. However, with the consequences now arising in multiple forms, it is apparent that we do have a hand in this destruction. Through education and recognition we can change our actions, and we can improve the environment in which we live in.

2 Comments »

2 Responses to “The Destruction of the Everglades”

  1. Dr. Szulczewski on 08 Mar 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    I like your summary and your photos, but I’m wondering what your thoughts are about these specific things here in the Everglades, as opposed to your general conclusion.

  2. jveccia on 12 Mar 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    I really didn’t know anything about the everglades and how endangered they are until this semester. It’s crazy in my geology class we were taking about underground aquifers and the everglades was an example to what happens when you lower the water table; by making the rate of discharge higher then the rate or recharge. Our society has dried up at least half of the everglades. Why do we try to live or plant food where it won’t grow naturally? In the southern part of florida; which is very dry, they grow strawberries and lettuce which are almost all water. Why don’t they plant a less water extensive crop? There are so many things that florida can do to fix the problem because they need to it soon. When we drain too much water out of an underground aquifer the pore spaces that hold the water collapse and the ground sinks and cracks. Once the underground aquifer collapses it’s permanent and we can never get the same amount of water underground again. Which is terrible because underground aquifers are where 90% of our water comes from.

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