Wetlands are key to protecting our precious coasts
It may be overshadowed by an event held the same day each year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, but World Wetlands Day doesn’t deserve to play second fiddle to the legendary groundhog or his fur-brained weather forecast.
I’ll be the first to admit I once thought wetlands were a waste of prime property. I now know better.
According to WorldWetlandsDay.org: “Wetlands are land areas that are saturated or flooded with water either permanently or seasonally. Inland wetlands include marshes, ponds, lakes, fens, rivers, floodplains, and swamps. Coastal wetlands include saltwater marshes, estuaries, mangroves, lagoons, and even coral reefs. Fishponds, rice paddies, and salt pans are human-made wetlands.”
Here's why this is important stuff – and why the world marks this event every Feb. 2.
“Wetlands are critical to human and plant life. Directly or indirectly, they provide almost all of the world’s consumption of freshwater. More than one billion people depend on them for a living and 40 percent of the world’s species live and breed in wetlands. They are a vital source for food, raw materials, genetic resources for medicines, and hydropower; they mitigate floods, protect coastlines and build community resilience to disasters, and they play an important role in transport, tourism and the cultural and spiritual well-being of people.”
Coast Apparel is big on our oceans, beaches and coastlines. We promote efforts to curb the plastic pollution clogging up our environment.
Turns out wetlands play a key role in protecting our precious coasts.
The WorldWetlandsDay.org feature, “Wetlands cushion North America's coastlines from extreme weather,” notes: “In 2012 Hurricane Sandy slammed into the eastern seaboard of the United States, inflicting damage in 24 states. If not for coastal wetlands, the destruction would have been worse. A recent study found that coastal wetlands in the Northeast United States prevented $625million in direct flood damages during Hurricane Sandy, reducing damages by more than 22% in half of the impacted areas and by as much as 30% elsewhere. The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes have increased since the early 1980s, making the protection of the 50% of U.S. wetlands that remain an imperative.”
Wetlands also help the planet handle climate change. Who knew?!?
So, on Feb. 2, join the World Wetlands Day effort to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet.
WorldWetlandsDay.org details the many ways you can get involved. We think Punxsutawney Phil will understand if this year you think globally and spring into action. After all, wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests due to climate change, population increase, urbanization and changing consumption patterns.
Keeping our coast clear