Wet’s It to You?
Goods and services provided by wetlands across the globe are worth some $70 billion, claims a new study released by the World Wildlife Fund, but those wetlands are in danger of being destroyed. Valuable wetland functions range from recreation to water filtration and flood control; however, insufficient knowledge about wetlands leads policy-makers to sanction their drainage for agriculture and other land uses that promise short-term economic benefit. As a result, more than half of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900. The report’s release was timed to coincide with the United Nations’ Wetlands Day. Grist would like to wish its readers a happy Wetlands Day, and urge them to give the wetlands what they most want this year: an informed, active citizenry that advocates on their behalf.