With the inauguration of the new Biden administration, there has been significant movement in addressing the threats of climate change and environmental harm. We’ve seen the nomination and confirmation of pro-environmental cabinet members, including Pete Buttigieg and Debbie Haaland, and we’ve witnessed President Biden tackle the disastrous anti-environmental legacy of Donald Trump. And now, in another huge step to protecting our environment, President Biden has committed to the 30×30 Conservation effort.
So what is the 30×30 movement? The 30×30 conservation commitment is a hugely ambitious goal of protecting and preserving 30% of the United States’ land and waters by the year 2030. It’s a goal based on recommendations from the scientific community to confront the ever-growing need to stand against climate change, rapid biodiversity loss and ecological harm. It’s aimed at protecting natural ecosystems, respecting our planet and the communities that are spread out throughout our country.
It’s a difficult benchmark to reach. For reference, only 12 percent of the land and 26 percent of the oceans are protected as of a 2018 report, a number that’s certain to be smaller after the past two years of the Trump administration. With less than a decade before 2030, the only way to make meet this ambitious benchmark is through decisive action. It means acknowledging the urgency behind this issue and adopting a “no time to waste” attitude. It means accepting the science behind climate change and ecological disaster. And it means aggressively pushing for new protections and legislation that would provide security for the country’s environment.
The path ahead is certainly daunting but there are boundless opportunities if our country continues down this path. For one, we will be reentering a global community dedicated to protecting the only planet that we have, re-earning their respect and taking our place as the leader in the fight against climate change and environmental harm. Second, conservation and sustainability is a barely tapped well of massive financial opportunity, enriching our communities through the development of incredible new industries. Third, there is a mountain of scientific evidence that shows that addressing climate change will keep our communities and families healthy.
The challenges ahead are massive but the potential good our country and planet would receive is limitless. We’re facing a crossroads of following the same self-destructive and harmful path of the past century or taking the steps to a brighter, cleaner and healthier future. It’s time we choose the right way and work with our government to bring a 30×30 future into reality.