National Resources Defense Council’s Work on Biodiversity

The NRDC’s Work on Biodiversity

Kari Birdseye

Kari Birdseye, Strategic Communications Manager for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), spoke to League members and supporters for the Environmental Concerns Speaker Series on February 14th. She focused on the “Building a Healthy and Equitable Californiacampaign and gave a helpful update on their work on California’s 30×30 plan -see more about “30×30” below. 

The NRDC is an international nonprofit organization that “works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.” Recently, they have been investing more and more in environmental justice. They have also been directly involved in advocating for congressional support for the 30×30 plan, creating and defending marine protected areas in the US, and encouraging state legislatures to increase protections for species, lands and waters.

Building a Healthy and Equitable California

The Healthy California Campaign focuses on environmental justice by educating communities and local decision makers about conservation and fighting for pollution free communities with open spaces and access to nature. Climate change has negative effects on human health as well as the environment, and BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) communities are especially impacted by this. They are more likely to be affected by oil and gas wells being built near schools and homes, higher pollution levels and a lack of access to nature. The NRDC works with and amplifies the voices of communities, environmental groups, labor groups, elected officials, health advocates and businesses. They work towards goals like phasing out oil and gas, protecting communities from toxic pollution, and creating just and resilient food and farming systems. More information about their work can be found here.

30×30 Campaign

Scientists warn that 50% of earth’s nature and wildlife must be preserved by 2050 if we are to have a chance at stopping climate change and mass extinction. 30×30, or the commitment to preserve 30% of lands and waters by 2030, is an important milestone in this effort. President Biden announced the federal government’s plan for 30×30 called America the Beautiful. The state of California has led the way for 30×30, by becoming the first US jurisdiction to start implementing 30×30 initiatives. California is working with local governments, tribal leaders, farmers, businesses and other stakeholders to preserve CA’s biodiversity. The three key objectives in the CA plan are: 

1. Protect California’s unique biodiversity 

2. Expand equitable access to nature and its benefits 

3. Conserve places that help California achieve carbon neutrality and/or build climate resilience. 

The guiding principles of the plan are:

1. Placing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at the center of planning, decision making, and implementation. 

2. Consulting and partnering with California Native American tribes. 

3. Protecting our economic prosperity, clean energy resources, and food supply. 

The full draft for California’s 30×30 plan can be found here. The NRDC has made recommendations to the plan which can be found here

–Jaden Shochet

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