Column: 30 percent preserved or restored by 2030 | Opinion

The Biden administration presented a bold vision to conserve and restore 30% of our nation’s land and water by 2030. Biden’s “America the Beautiful” plan sets out the first-ever national conservation goal.

And not a moment too soon. Our nation’s critical pollinators and ecosystems are being wiped out. There are 12,000 species that need conservation assistance in order to avoid extinction.

Our ocean habitats are in decline and we have lost 70% of the kelp off the northern California coast in the past ten years. In the Florida Keys, 90% of living corals have been lost and our nation’s wetlands in the lower 48 islands have been halved. Make no mistake: we are in crisis mode and conservation is one of the main ways to fight climate change and to preserve our precious lands and waters.

It’s not rocket science – if we conserve at least 30% of our land and water by 2030, we are protecting those lands and waters from dirty fossil fuel production and pollution. The Biden Plan will expand protection of critical habitats and corridors for fish and wildlife, increase access to outdoor recreation and support Tribally-led conservation and restoration efforts, and much more.

Almost a third of the American population – over 100 million people – do not have access to a park within a 10-minute walk of their homes. Many of the communities that lack access to clean air, clean water and nature are the same communities that are negatively affected by fossil fuel production and pollution.

Biden’s 30 by 30 plan will create more parks and outdoor opportunities, especially in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods that lack access to parks and recreation the most. We must extend the protection of our lands and waters if we are to preserve delicate ecosystems, regenerate depleted marine life, fight climate change, and ensure that Americans can enjoy these scenic and wild places for generations to come.

We look forward to seeing more details on President Biden’s 30 by 30 Plan, and appreciate his commitment to restoring and protecting US lands and waters.

Dr. Rob Moir is a nationally recognized and award-winning environmentalist. He is President and Executive Director of the Massachusetts-based Ocean River Institute, a nonprofit organization providing expertise, services, resources and information not available at a localized level to support the efforts of environmental organizations. Please visit www.oceanriver.org for more information.

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