Washington D.C. – Today, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) shared a letter from 70 mayors representing 29 states and Washington, D.C. who joined together to show their support for confronting America’s nature and climate crisis by making a commitment to conserve at least 30 percent of the lands, waters, and ocean in our country by 2030. The bipartisan letter emphasizes the importance of locally-led conservation efforts following President Joe Biden and state and local leaders’ commitments to 30 by 30. Read the full letter here.
“The 30 by 30 conservation goal is ambitious, but, if we join forces, we can slow the loss of nature, fight climate change, and ensure that everyone has access to the outdoors,” said Boise, Idaho Mayor Lauren McLean. “We’ve seen this year how important these places are when we need to get outside to rest, reset, connect with loved ones.”
“Mayors are on the front lines of climate change and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the lands and waters in our communities,” said Republican Mayor Jim Brainard of Carmel, Indiana. “I’m proud that the parks and trails we’ve created in Carmel have contributed to our city’s high quality of life. Carmel and cities across the US have a tremendous opportunity to build cities in a sustainable way, focusing on designing cities for people not cars. Reducing sprawl and encouraging walking through better city design is critical to reducing carbon emissions and mayors have a responsibility to do a better job of city design. I’m excited by the nationwide movement to protect 30×30 because reaching this goal can strengthen our communities and help us solve climate change.”
“Nature-based climate solutions are a necessary part of the comprehensive approach we must take at all levels of government to tackle the climate crisis,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “That’s why the City of Chicago will be a proud partner in the 30×30 campaign to increase the preservation of critical, natural areas over the next decade.”
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released a video to highlight the mayors’ support for protecting 30 percent of our lands, waters, and ocean by 2030.
“We applaud these mayors, many of whom have been committed to big climate and conservation goals for years, on their leadership,” said LCV’s Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel. “30×30 creates the opportunity to expand access to nature and make it more equitable, fight climate change, and impede wildlife extinctions. LCV is all-in to help these leaders and President Biden reach and exceed this goal.”
The letter from mayors calls for an ambitious and inclusive movement that engages local, state, national and Tribal leaders, as well as private landowners, as part of this strategy to fight the climate crisis and address the rapid loss of natural areas in America. It emphasizes that efforts to conserve, protect, and restore our natural world should be guided by science, protect private property rights, honor Tribal sovereignty, and engage local communities to ensure that the benefits of nature are equitably shaped and shared by all — efforts which are already underway in the communities these mayors represent.
More Background on 30×30
President Biden signed an Executive Order that includes a ten-year goal of conserving 30 percent of the U.S. by 2030 during his first week in office. Biden directed his administration to carry out an inclusive and collaborative stakeholder-engagement process to safeguard America’s lands, water, and wildlife that will support the efforts of people across the country, including rural communities, Tribal Nations, private landowners, and many others on the frontlines of conserving, stewarding, restoring, using, and enjoying nature.
Congresswoman and Interior Secretary-designate Deb Haaland recommitted to the 30×30 goals during her recent confirmation hearings, saying 30 by 30 is “an opportunity for everyone to work together.” Haaland led the 30×30 resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives last Congress, further demonstrating the administration’s commitment to achieving these conservation goals.
In the states, 30×30 legislation has been introduced in places such as Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, Hawaii, and New York, while California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order to preserve 30% of the state’s lands and waters and Maine Governor Janet Mills’ new Climate Action Plan includes a 30% land conservation target.
The national goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and ocean is widely supported by people in this country. A 2019 survey found that 86 percent of voters nationwide support a 30×30 goal and 95 percent of people in the U.S. support establishing marine protected areas. A January 2021 poll revealed 77% support for 30×30 among residents of western states. Tribal leaders, environmental groups, outdoor recreation companies like Patagonia, faith groups, and aquaria have all declared their support for this ambitious conservation goal. And 30×30 transcends party lines, having attracted the support of Republicans like New Jersey State Senator Kip Bateman; South Carolina State Representatives Bobby Cox and William Cogswell; former U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Mel Martinez (R-FL); and 76% of Republican voters.
The outpouring of support and action comes in response to scientists’ calls to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030 as a vital response to a steep decline in nature. More than a million species are now at risk of extinction around the world. A football field’s worth of natural area disappears to development here in the United States every 30 seconds. And climate change is imperiling the health of people, our lands, and our ocean. That is why scientists are advocating for 30×30 in order to safely sequester more carbon in our forests, soils and wetlands; ensure that the natural systems on which we depend for food, oxygen and other essential services are sustained; and prevent mass extinctions. The United States has protected 12 percent of its land and 23 percent of its ocean territory, though much of those protected areas are located in the far western Pacific Ocean. Another study documented that communities of color are more than three times as likely as white communities to be nature deprived, which is why it is critical that new land and ocean protections yield a more equitable distribution of nature’s benefits to people.
More information about 30×30 is available here: https://www.natureamerica.org/