We are in a biodiversity extinction crisis as well as a climate crisis. According to global scientists who are part of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, one of the reasons we are in an extinction crisis—with one million species worldwide currently at risk of extinction—is climate change. The two emergencies are intertwined and both need to be addressed with urgency.
The Biden Administration’s Executive Order will address the complex climate change problem while helping biodiversity and environmental justice communities. It will do so by empowering the American workforce by creating jobs that conserve public lands and waters that will also support and protect wildlife and plants. It will create a Civilian Climate Corps to mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and create accessible training opportunities. The Civilian Climate Corps will have the lofty goals—to conserve and restore public lands and waters, bolster community resilience, increase reforestation, increase carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protect biodiversity, improve access to recreation, and address the changing climate. And, crucially, it will center environmental justice communities in this work.
The order requires the Secretary of Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to work with the states, Tribes, agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, elected officials and others to conserve 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.
The Endangered Species Coalition and its member groups have advocated for many of these policy approaches for some time in order to stop the extinction crisis. Environmental justice communities are not only hurt first and worst by climate change, but are also hurt first and worst by the loss of biodiversity. We greatly need a Civilian Corps approach to provide clean, green jobs to communities in need while restoring damaged lands and waters. Conserving 30 percent of lands and waters—particularly connected and protected areas—is a bold, proactive approach to save our nation’s plants and animals. Taken together, these actions will help ensure that vulnerable communities have healthier environments in which people, wildlife, and plants thrive.
We are in a biodiversity crisis and these initiatives that the Biden Administration has announced in his first week as President will not only address climate change but will also address the parallel crisis of biodiversity declines. And it will make people safer and healthier.
The Executive Order will also put the climate crisis at the center of US foreign policy and national security by taking a government-wide approach to to climate action by harnessing the government’s considerable buying, asset management, and property power; by empowering workers through rebuilding our infrastructure for a sustainable economy; and by securing environmental justice and spurring economic opportunity, among other actions.
TWEET – Thank you @JoeBiden for stating clear actions the government will take to address the climate crisis and conserve land and water for people & biodiversity! We are in an extinction crisis and this Executive Order will help our imperiled wildlife. #StopExtinction Click here to tweet!