The climate crisis threatens us all. The dangers are real and familiar and upon us: unprecedented storms, fires, drought, climate-ignited conflict, too many more. Fortunately, there are solutions that steer us toward a healthier, safer, more climate-resistant future.
One exciting and transformative solution is “30 by 30,” a national and local effort to protect 30% of America’s land and oceans by 2030. “30 by 30” prevents the destruction of natural ecosystems, preserves the miracle of biodiversity and, critically, sequesters vast amounts of carbon while simultaneously creating economic opportunity. “30 by 30” is a key component of the incoming Biden/Harris administration’s science-based, economically astute, forward-thinking environmental policy platform and is embraced by many national and local conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, The Wilderness Society and the Oregon Natural Desert Association, as well as businesses, such as Patagonia and REI.
Part of this endeavor includes protecting our public lands. Oregon has the opportunity to again lead due to the efforts of Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. The Malheur Community Empowerment for Owyhee Act (S. 2828) is making its way through Congress. This pragmatic bill addresses climate change impact by safeguarding large areas of public land and preserving natural wildlife corridors.
There are many ways to address the climate crisis; they include protecting our public lands and waters. I implore Oregon’s elected leaders to refine and pass the Malheur Community Empowerment Act for Owyhee Act as soon as possible.