Sustainability and environmental conservation is not something new. It’s something that has been championed and explored in this country by heroes such as President Teddy Roosevelt and Daniel Boone.

Protecting the environment is not a new idea. People are interested in reducing their own carbon footprint. Sustainability and environmental conservation protect and preserve our natural environment. It’s impossible to survive without clean water, food, or air.

There are some great agencies in Southwest Florida completely focused on protecting and preserving our natural environment.

The Lee County Division of Natural Resources mission statement is to “provide management and protection of the County’s natural resources through well permitting, water conservation, water quality monitoring, flood protection, beach preservation, water-way/marine resources, hazardous waste management and pollutant storage tank programs.” There is no way for one person or county division to fully monitor our natural resources. Encouraging informed community awareness and involvement is important to the beauty and sustainability of our waterways, beaches, forests, and nature preserves in our own backyards.

Southwest Florida is known for its miles upon miles of beautiful coastline. Our economy and local businesses alike depend on our sandy beaches. Beach preservation is always top of mind for any environmentally focused groups. Each year the storms and hurricanes that hit our coastlines are slowly eroding the sand. Many of the local beaches have had sand restoration projects that have severely affected the community. Our beaches are a necessity. They provide a natural habitat for so many different species of wildlife on the ground and in the water.

Preventing pollution and educating the community on how they can contribute to a cleaner and safer environment will continue to preserve our homes and livelihoods.

Being aware of the proper hazardous waste disposal protocols can alleviate ground water pollution that could affect our wildlife and even our own families. Working together to communicate these tools, tips, and resources to the public gives the power to the people who can make a real change. Understanding the benefits of protecting the environment will help lead our population to feel invested in the community.

Reducing our overall environmental impact is the ultimate goal. There is no way to completely eliminate the impact we have on nature, but there are so many great ideas on how to minimize it. Animals in the wild have become extinct due to the lack of the natural resource they needed to survive. While this is an extreme example, if this cause and effect is applied to our communities a huge difference can be made. Protecting what we need to live will guarantee our survival. Living green is a new trend for so many people. This doesn’t have to be an all or nothing technique.

Growing vegetables, conserving water, recycling, and reducing the use of harmful chemicals are a few examples of ways to be more sustainable each day.

Southwest Florida is a gorgeous vacation destination for people worldwide. Having the privilege to live, work, and play where most only vacation is a huge benefit for our community. Being aware of our environmental impact and helping others to understand the importance of keeping our community clean is a stepping stone for overall sustainability.