You can help restore California’s natural environment

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Governor Newsom signed an executive order in October 2020 that puts California on the path to protecting 30% of our land and water by 2030 (known as 30×30). State agencies have asked for comments on how to achieve this vision. This is your chance to tell the state what is important for you to protect!

Photo: Matthew Dillon via Flickr; Bob Wick / BLM; Robert Bohrer / 123RF

When you visit the majestic redwoods of California, the breathtaking coastline or the high peaks of the Sierra, it is not difficult to understand that a thriving natural world offers us incredible beauty and a calming retreat. But saving nature and biodiversity offers us so much more that we often overlook in our daily lives. Forests clean our air and sequester carbon. Wetlands and riparian areas filter contaminants from our drinking water and absorb stormwater, protecting us from harmful flooding. Rivers and oceans provide us with healthy food and cool air temperatures. And all of these areas provide habitat for the creatures that sustain us: the pollinators that sustain our crops; birds that control rodent populations; animals that produce important medical breakthroughs; and even the worms and germs that keep our soils healthy.

By embarking on this ambitious 30×30 initiative, the NRDC urges the State to prioritize places of protection that respond to the double crisis of biodiversity loss and climate change, and which improve access to nature for people. communities historically deprived of nature. As more than 240 Californian scientists and researchers explain in this letter supporting 30×30,

As a globally significant biodiversity hotspot with an exceptional concentration of endemic and endangered species, California has much to protect for the benefit of our national and global communities. At least 686 California species are threatened with extinction, and two-thirds of the state’s native plants are expected to lose most of their range over the next 100 years (Loarie et al. 2008). California has lost over a million acres of natural area due to development (Lee-Ashley et al. 2019). Climate change reduces the ability of ecosystems to provide clean water and regulate water flows, limiting nature’s ability to protect communities from disasters such as forest fires, storms, floods and marine heat waves (Melillo et al. 2014). As California’s health and economic systems are strained by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has likely spread from animals to humans due to habitat loss and overexploitation (Johnson et al. al. 2020), the effect of the biodiversity crisis on people is more pronounced than ever.

Restoring threatened natural systems will help reverse the trend of extinctions, but it will also tackle climate change. Healthy natural landscapes store large amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Nature-based solutions to climate change include restoring carbon-absorbing forests and wetlands, modifying agricultural practices to restore the soil’s capacity to sequester carbon, and protecting grasslands and oceans that are already absorbing enormous amounts of carbon. amount of human-made carbon emissions.

30×30 also offers a crucial opportunity to correct historical disparities in access to nature. Many communities have been excluded from decision-making processes and benefit from conservation for too long. Communities of color are three times more likely than white communities to live in places devoid of nature. The 30×30 initiative opens the door to a new, more inclusive conservation model that is science-based, locally driven, and engages all stakeholders, from tribal and indigenous communities to farmers, ranchers and outdoor enthusiasts.

We hope you will join us in telling the Newsom Administration that you value California’s natural resources and want to see them better protected and restored.


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