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Until the late 20th century most people did not place much value on wetlands. They are marshy, swampy, mucky, soft places, not good for farming or building. About all they were considered to be good for was harvesting peat, in parts of the world where peat was used as a heating fuel. Many wetlands were filled in so that the land could be "used." We didn't know how vital they are for the health of our planet, and for our own health.

In the late 20th century the effects of climate change began to worry scientists around the world, and they started looking for causes and solutions. It was about that time that the reputation of wetlands began to change. Environmentalists and scientists began to see that wetlands are one of the very best tools nature gives us to fight climate change.

Wetlands purify air and water supplies, removing pollutants. They absorb large quantities of water, helping to prevent floods. They provide moisture to the air in times of drought. The help cool overheated air. And best of all, they drawdown carbon from the atmosphere, reversing greenhouse gas emissions. Mankind has no technology or invention that can do what a wetland can do. Nature gives them to us for free; all we have to do is take care of them.

Wetlands cover 3% of the Earth's surface, and they are still disappearing at an alarming rate because of humankind's endless drive for more roads and buildings. But things are changing. Cities around the world are waking up to the importance of wetlands. They are preserving or restoring wetlands to make their cities less vulnerable to climate change impacts. 

Please read our information sheet Wetlands + Carbon to learn more about the vital role wetlands play in managing our carbon emissions.



There are now countless organizations working to protect wetlands. Here are a few:

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