Monday, October 18, 2010

Put the Everglades in your portfolio!

What’s the return on investment of a restored Everglades? That may sound like an odd question to a kayaker or bird watcher, but it’s one that could resonate deeply with government officials during hard times.

The answer is $46.5 to $123.9 billion, according to the Everglades Foundation, which commissioned Atlanta-based Mather Economics to do the study. The figures were based on an $11.5 billion investment in Everglades Restoration.


The report shatters the “environment vs. economy” myth often used by polluters that protecting the environment means sacrificing jobs. In fact, the study shows that for every dollar invested in Everglades Restoration, four dollars came back in higher home values, increased tourism and stronger boating and tourism industries. The study shows restoration will generate 442,644 additional jobs over 50 years. “Simply put,” said Kirk Fordham, Executive Director of the Everglades Foundation, "we can’t grow our economy if we allow the Everglades to collapse.”

So the next time you see a roseate spoonbill, don’t just think, ‘how beautiful.’ Also think, ‘what a deal!’

-- Jonathan Ullman, South Florida/Everglades Senior Field Organizer