The “biodiversity loss” narrative is not new. Studies have shown that lands and waters are being lost to development at alarming rates, increasing numbers of plants and wildlife are facing extinction, and climate change is threatening human health and wellbeing. To prevent future loss and to help increase outdoor access for historically underrepresented communities, many prominent scientists, including conservation biologist Edward O. Wilson, have called for the conservation of half of the world’s land and oceans for the long-term health of the planet. This has sparked a movement to conserve 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030 which has gained international momentum. Identical bills committing the United States to a 30×30 goal have been introduced into the U.S. House and Senate. With federal recognition of the need to take action, there is an opportunity for state legislators to lead the movement by protecting land locally and creating a strong partnership with the federal government.
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The 2021 Conservation in the West Survey found 77% of voters in Western states favor a national 30×30 goal.
A 2020 report from the Campaign for Nature found the economic benefits of protecting 30% of the planet’s land and ocean outweigh the costs at least 5-to-1.
People of color and low-income communities are more likely than white people to live in an area that is nature deprived.