On Second Thought, Let's Not Drain the Swamp

An ecologist defends swamps against a 'lazy, inept political metaphor'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2016 2:27 PM CST
On Second Thought, Let's Not Drain the Swamp
No draining necessary.   (Getty Images/drbimages)

Adam Rosenblatt wishes politicians would stop saying "drain the swamp"—and it's not because he's worried about the reputation of the nation's capital. "My extensive experience working in and studying swamps allows me to see just how terrible the analogy is," the American Association for the Advancement of Science ecologist writes for the Washington Post. "Swamps can be sources of resource abundance and protection from natural disasters, which are exactly some of the functions a responsible government should promote." He argues that swamps help prevent flooding, protect against storms, act as natural water filters, lessen the effects of climate change, and provide a home for multitudes of plants and animals that are both economically important as well as darn pretty to look at.

Rosenblatt offers the Florida Everglades as an example. The state drained the swamps, but instead of rich farmland, it ended up with "barren and dry" land that "actually caught fire and burned for years in some places." He argues the US might be be better off if it actually protected and expanded swamps instead of draining them. He says swamps should "be regarded as wonderful and valuable parts of nature rather than objects of derision and hatred" and don't "deserve to be co-opted as a lazy, inept political metaphor." Besides, Washington DC wasn't actually built on a swamp anyway. Read the full piece here. (Read more swamps stories.)

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