There is an old joke once used to make fun of somebody for being gullible. If they seemed inclined to believe something that was clearly a scam, you said, “Well if you believe that, I have some swampland in Florida I’d like to sell you.” The expression comes from a time when real estate agents misrepresented swampland in Florida as land that could be developed. When the gullible buyer went to examine their prime real estate that they got for a steal, they found a murky swamp full of alligators and mosquitos. Apparently this did not deter some of those investors, because Florida has lost much of its swamps to development. (Fun fact: Disney World is built on swampland.)
Swampland has come a long way since the days when it was considered worthless or something to fill in so you can build an amusement park. Now we refer to swamps as wetlands and their reputation has improved along with their name. We now know that they serve many vital functions. They are like kidneys - they clean our water, provide protection against floods and keep our water table topped up. They draw down a lot of carbon and they provide an important habitat for a wide range of biodiversity. (Fun Fact: 40% of all species live or breed in wetlands.) Unfortunately, the world’s wetlands are being lost at an alarming rate. Half of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1900. The culprits are housing development, agriculture, factories, pollution, and overuse of water.
Wetlands are a valuable resource that has been under-appreciated for too long and that’s why February 2nd is World Wetlands Day. So if someone offers to sell you some swampland at a bargain - take them up on that offer and then protect your precious swamp carefully.