Conserving Land Safeguards Human Health
Our conservation vision is based on the idea of healthy land sustaining healthy people. With an obesity rate of over 30%, over 3,500 miles of impaired rivers and streams, and a loss of nearly 35 acres of farmland per day, South Carolina needs our help. Conserving land provides you and your family access to safe drinking water, clean air, healthy food, and green spaces to drop a few pounds and renew the soul.
- South Carolina has the eighth highest obesity rate in the country with 33% of the adult population classified as obese
- Access to places for physical activity such as parks and green spaces produces a 48.4% increase in the frequency of physical activity
- The Lowcountry has a rich history of a diverse agricultural sector, producing more than 39 varieties of seasonal fruits and vegetables. However, with changing markets, development pressure, and rising land prices, local farms are disappearing.
- Currently, 35 acres of farmland are lost per day in SC and the number of farms in Charleston County decreased from 417 in 2002 to 332 in 2007, a 20% loss.
- Preserving these local, working farms provides sustainable, seasonal and healthy produce while also supporting the local economy and maintaining green spaces in the community.
- Individuals who participate in community gardens have significantly lower odds of being overweight or obese than their non-gardening neighbors - 46% less for women gardeners and 62% less for men gardeners.
- Watersheds where future housing development (from 2000 to 2030) on rural lands is most likely to affect private forest cover are concentrated in southern Maine and the Southeast, including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. These watersheds provide drinking water for millions of South Carolinians.
- Of the over 3,500 miles of impaired rivers and streams in our state, 52 waterways in the Ashley/Cooper River basin currently have poor water quality due to fecal pollution.
- For every 10 % increase in the source area's forest cover, treatment and chemical costs decreased approximately 20%, up to about 60% forest cover. For example, when 60% of a watershed is forested, average annual treatment costs are $297,100. When only 10% is forested, average annual costs rise to $923,450.
- Protecting forests along rivers and creeks and other drinking water sources prevents pollution and ensures clean drinking water and swimmable areas.