Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet should purchase land for conservation at a bargain price in Walton County.

It is no coincidence Florida’s next House speaker is focusing on climate change and spending — they are no doubt two of the biggest issues facing this state, and they are interrelated whether you believe in climate change or not.

Rep. Chris Sprawls, R-Palm Harbor, faces a complicated political landscape, and climate change is one issue where both sides of the aisle (mostly) agree.

But politics aside, there should be no argument that making the environment among the top priorities — if not the top priority — makes sense. Every dollar put into some sort of environmental effort is $1 put toward improving the lives of our residents, tourists and businesses. Just think about it from the perspective of a child, who takes everything at face value. They don’t see a monetary value; they look at things from the perspective of hope — what can we accomplish? How far can we go? 

They don’t see glass ceilings or complications that have limited the thinking of past and present generations. They see potential for a better tomorrow — and they look to us adults for cues as to how to behave. Protecting their neighborhoods, swimming holes and parks is a practical way to prove to them that, yes, we do care about their needs (beyond the back-to-school clothes and all that). We care about their quality of life, and we want their children to grow up in an even more beautiful world than we have enjoyed and, at times, taken for granted as something that always will be.

We can start accomplishing that by continuing the traditions of philanthropists like M.C. Davis, who wanted to see an endless pine forest in Walton County, which at one point was sand dunes, grasslands and woods — not the sprawling (and in places pristine) development that characterizes the southern part of that county now.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet should purchase the lands that would, as the Daily News’ Tom McLaughlin wrote, "fill in gaps" in the Nokuse Plantation conservation area, which takes up a large chunk of Walton County north of U.S. Highway 98.

The two deals being considered would add 2,600 acres — including land alongside Black Creek, which drains into Choctawhatchee Bay. Preserving the land along it would help keep that area unblemished from the encroachment that threatens so much of the rugged landscape between County 30A and Interstate 10.

The Panhandle’s counties may be different when it comes to development and politics, but the outdoors is no doubt a favorite of most in Northwest Florida. Anything we can do to help keep what amounts to a "speck" of land is worth it.

Our only question would be whether the state is paying a fair price. According to McLaughlin’s story, the cost would be $2.7 million. That seems fair when you consider how expensive open land is in the southern half of Walton County. It always would ensure that one more piece of old Florida is still around for future generations.