Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 21
Courtesy The Nature Conservancy
there's some mass appeal to having that sort of
frame around it, but I also think it's really well
thought out. It brings up points that are pretty
simple to grasp and are pretty common sense. "
That might be why hundreds of elected officials-from state representatives to county
commissioners and city council members-
have signed open letters supporting 30x30
(including 60 officials in Wisconsin). The
first open letter, signed by 450 local and state
elected officials, was published the day before
President Joe Biden signed an executive order
directing the secretaries of interior, agriculture, and commerce to gather information
and submit a report on how to achieve 30x30
nationally. In early March, 70 mayors also
pledged their support through the League of
Though public land policy enforced at the
Departments of the Interior and Agriculture
often drives the national conversation about
conservation (think: Bears Ears), local- and
state-level agencies will play integral roles in
achieving 30x30 as well. " The way we try to
frame it is, lands are local, and you can see the
60 elected leaders that signed onto the letter
agree, " Billingham says. " When you tell people
their local park was funded by the Land and
Water Conservation Fund, they understand
what we're trying to do. "
Legislators in several states, from South
Carolina to Hawaii, have introduced 30x30focused bills. New York has a bill in the
state legislature to enact 30x30 by directing the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation to set goals for
30% conservation by 2030 that also consider environmental justice. But, according to
Ottney Mahar, local municipalities are looking at 30x30 as well. " We're even seeing some
communities do their own bond measures to
do the work, " she says.
The Nature Conservancy and its partners
are also looking at how 30x30 could work in
our nation's largest city, she says. " We're also
looking at who is protected. "
" Nature in cities takes all shapes, " Ottney
Mahar says. " We have iconic parks in New
York, like Central Park, and the Buffalo Parks
created by Olmstead. There's a lot going on
with urban forestry, as well as green rooftops.
There are a lot of untapped spaces in cities. "
These types of climate-mitigation projects
also support pollinators, improve stormwater retention, create a cooling effect in urban
looking at how
30x30 could work in
urban green spaces
like Riverside Park
Upper West Side.
" I think part of what's important about this policy
is the conversation it's stimulating. It's an important
moment for the conservation movement. "
-Jessica Ottney Mahar, The Nature Conservancy
heat-island zones, and become places where
people can relax and enjoy nature-and one of
TNC's missions is to make sure everyone has
access to all of these benefits.
In the U.S., the idea behind 30x30 has been
on the national political stage for a couple
of years. In 2019, Sens. Michael Bennet,
D-Colo., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., introduced
a Senate resolution for a national 30x30 goal.
And, before she became the interior secretary,
Rep. Deb Haaland introduced a bill to the
House to establish a national goal of conserving 30% of the land and ocean of the United
States by 2030.
But the Biden administration's executive order in January has helped expand the
conversation about 30x30, and the administration's general focus on climate issues
has helped local and state lawmakers as well,
says Colorado state House Rep. Dominique
Jackson, a Democrat representing Aurora,
who signed the open letter on 30x30. " Making
[climate] a national priority certainly helps
me as a lawmaker in pushing that it's a local
or regional priority, " she says. " It's not just in
the optics, not just in the framing of it, but in
building the momentum. "
That momentum can help local lawmakers move initiatives forward. During her time
in Colorado's state House, Jackson fought for
clean energy and environmental justice, and
her Environmental Justice for All Act, a bill
she has been working on for several years, has
the support of the governor and the public.
She called it a " big, complex piece of legislation " that will require state agencies to map
and measure environmental impacts to protect historically disenfranchised communities. She sees 30x30 in a similar light: potentially big, but something everyone wants.
" The goal of 30x30 is ambitious, but I still
think it's something that Coloradans want, "
Jackson says. " It just takes collective ideas.
And it's not just state government-we need
our friends in Congress to help us as well; we
need our friends in local government. " O.R.
April 2021 / OUTDOOR RETAILER 21
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021
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