The 30×30 Conservation Goal Will Be Critical Tool In Stemming Species Loss, Climate Change and Inequitable Access To Nature.
President Biden’s goal of conserving 30% of U.S. lands, ocean and water by 2030 established in Executive Order 14008 is considered the ‘bare minimum’ by scientists needed to save nature and buffer against the worst impacts of climate change.
On Tuesday, the Gullah/Geechee Nation and a diverse coalition of 342 groups sent a letter to United States President Biden supporting the conservation goal and detailing additional components they look forward to the administration addressing in pursuit of this goal. As part of Executive Order 14008, Tackling The Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, the President directed federal agencies to outline strategies for meeting the goal in a report scheduled to be delivered to the White House later this month.
Protecting 30% of US lands, ocean and water by 2030 is a part of the solution to address three major crises: the climate crises, inequitable access to nature and species loss, which are affecting quality of life, well-being and local communities. The goal also offers the opportunity to advance environmental justice by supporting the implementation of locally-led conservation efforts in communities nationwide.
The letter, which is signed by the Gullah/Geechee Nation, nonprofits, tribal entities and businesses from 43 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Mariana Islands, reads in part:
“To confront the rapid loss of America’s natural places and wildlife, the U.S. must accelerate locally-led land, water, and ocean conservation and restoration efforts at all levels of government and across the country. For more than a century, the United States has risen to meet the major environmental challenges facing our nation. Conserving 30 percent of our lands, waters, and ocean by 2030 — a commitment that is widely supported by Americans, with 4 out of 5 voters expressing support — is a critical milestone in the effort to tackle the challenges we face today.
As the Biden-Harris administration works to achieve the national 30×30 target, we, the undersigned 342 organizations and businesses, on behalf of our members and supporters, stand in support of this ambitious and inclusive vision for conservation. By empowering the ongoing, locally-driven conservation efforts of communities across the country, your administration can help limit the negative consequences and immense costs of climate change, a critical goal not only for the Biden-Harris administration, but for our planet.”
Additionally, both the letter and the President’s Executive Order recognize the importance of collaboration across the federal, state and local governments, and experts including landowners, Indigenous peoples, scientists, and other community leaders in achieving protections that add up to 30%. The signers of the letter include environmental organizations and land trusts, recreation affinity groups, tribal bands, and businesses. These groups hope that support of the 30×30 goal will encourage the Biden Administration to advance nature-based climate solutions, and ensure that nature’s benefits are accessible to all Americans.
The following quotes can be attributed to each organization:
“In Gullah/Geechee culture, we believe ‘De wata bring we and de wata gwine tek we bak.’ Healing and protecting our land and waters means healing ourselves because the land is our family and the water is our bloodline. So, we the Gullah/Geechee Nation and our organizations are dedicated to working with the Biden Administration on the 30×30 plan which perfectly aligns with our culture’s sustainability and continuation.”
“We have fewer than ten years to reverse the course of climate change. By following the lead of local voices, we can leverage nature-based solutions to combat the climate crisis while confronting historic inequities in land use decision-making, and ending the disproportionate loss of nature facing black, brown, and Indigenous communities. We applaud the Biden Administration’s commitment to protect 30% of US lands and waters by 2030 and look forward to seeing its increased investments in community-led conservation.” – Amanda John Kimsey, Advocacy Manager, Landscape Connectivity & 30×30, The Wilderness Society
“For too long, the consequences of natural resource extraction and pollution in the United States have fallen disproportionately on low income and communities of color. As longtime advocates for a 30×30 rooted in equity, we celebrate president Biden’s effort to position environmental justice at the core of a national 30×30 approach.”
– Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš, Founder/ Executive Director, Azul, a grassroots organization working with Latinxs to conserve coasts and oceans
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has shown us the importance of our outdoors, water and green spaces not only for our economy, but also our health, as many Michiganders have taken to the outdoors for solace and recreation during these challenging times. The outdoors are part of who we are as Michiganders, from city parks in Detroit to national forests in the U.P. Preserving 30 percent of our lands, waters and oceans will help us improve water and air quality, provide buffers to development, and connect to nature, especially for low-income and communities of color as we battle climate change and its impacts. Achieving these goals requires collaboration at the local, state and federal levels. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration as we work to protect and preserve our critical land and water resources.”
– Bentley Johnson, Senior Partnerships Manager for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters
“These actions are a firm and decisive step toward a healthier environment and improved access to our nation’s special places, like the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) for all communities and for all people. And now is the time for action on Climate Change and the 30×30 initiative is a powerful opportunity to begin to address the historic inequities that have existed not only in where accessible green spaces are located- but who they are protected for. As we build the 30×30 initiative we must challenge ourselves to reimagine how we do this work and who we engage to achieve success. The 30×30 effort must account for the dynamic nature of land and water stemming from the climate crisis AND the changing needs of all the people connected to them. And because the people three times more likely to feel the impact of climate change are Black, Indigenous, and people and communities of color, they are the people who have the most to gain by 30×30’s success and also those who have the most to lose if they aren’t included in the process and decisions. We must do this work with the idea that we are building a collective future together, from the start, because failure to do this is simply not an option for any of us who wish to see the planet and all of our communities thrive in the future.” – Teresa Ana Martinez, Acting Chair, Next100 Coalition Board; Executive Director, Continental Divide Trail Coalition