news releases

06 May 2021

DOI Spotlights Need to Protect 30% of Lands, Waters, Ocean by 2030

Category: News Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior released its “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful" report on implementing the goal of conserving 30% of U.S. lands, waters and ocean by the year 2030. In response to the report, Hispanic Access Foundation President and CEO Maite Arce released the following statement:

“We all share a strong moral obligation to be good stewards of our public lands and waters. This 30x30 goal provides an incredible opportunity for our nation to establish equitable access to nature and fill the gaps that Latinos and other communities of color face in the outdoors and in the realm of environmental justice. 

“For too long, communities of color and low-income communities across the country have faced a “Nature Gap” – meaning they have less access to parks, beaches, and natural areas in general. Because of the inequitable distribution of greenspace in the U.S., these communities are denied nature’s benefits and suffer from higher rates of asthma, obesity, and other chronic diseases. 

“If 30x30 is implemented with consideration of the needs of underserved communities, it can be a tool for creating equitable access to nature and begin undoing the harm caused by the Nature Gap. To do so, the administration must ensure water and nature access for all, urban and rural alike, especially for communities that have historically lacked access or are nature deprived. 

“We applaud President Joe Biden and Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland for their leadership in addressing the climate crisis, conserving nature and focusing on more equitable access. Not only will we be protecting far more lands and waters over the next decade, but the United States will be able to guarantee every child in America has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of nature near their home.”

According to scientists, protecting 30% of U.S. lands, water and ocean is the bare minimum needed to save nature and buffer against the worst impacts of climate change. This effort provides a unique opportunity to work towards a more inclusive and equitable vision for nature conservation that better reflects the nation’s values. 

Yet, it's critical that ongoing resources be provided to parks and nature areas that serve communities of color and that Indigenous and tribal nations have their ancestral lands protected and honored in the manner of their choosing. Additionally, implementation of 30x30 must connect across sectors beyond conservation to reach the greatest benefits for public health, education, climate resilience, and economic livelihoods.

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