I recently had the opportunity to participate in a panel at POLITICO’s annual sustainability summit in Washington, D.C. While the focus of the panel was on restoring biodiversity in the U.S., the conversation was wide-ranging, covering natural climate solutions, 30x30 and much more.
I seized the moment to highlight the role of voluntary private land conservation. Most people don’t know that nature in the lower 48 is declining five times faster on private lands than on lands owned and managed by government. Yet private lands offer the best option to increase the amount of land conserved across the nation—60% of the country is owned privately and there are tremendous benefits to keeping these private lands in private hands. They are vital to preserving biodiversity, protecting water resources, building natural climate solutions and feeding America and the world.
The best part — as I emphasized in my remarks — is that the infrastructure for empowering private landowners to conserve their lands already exists: Land trusts across the country. Together, we’ve conserved more than 61 million acres and we are poised to do that again this decade. Let's keep Gaining Ground.
Thank you to POLITICO for inviting me to join the panel, and to my fellow panelists, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), chair of the Natural Resources Committee; Helen O'Shea, Director, Renewable Energy, Lands Division, Nature Programs, NRDC; and Lauren Sanchez, climate advisor for the Office of California Governor Gavin Newsom. You can watch our discussion on the Summit's landing page.