More than 350 state legislators from across the United States are urging President Joe Biden to create a national strategy to protect, restore and secure the country’s rich biodiversity for generations to come.
Representative Alex Valdez, D-Denver, was among 22 Colorado lawmakers to sign a letter sent to the White House late last week. He said that as more species and habitats are lost, the risks to ecosystems that provide drinking water, food and even the air we breathe begin to worsen. .
“We’re seeing a massive impact, and frankly, we’re heading towards extinction for a number of different species,” Valdez said. “We have to do something about it, because we’re kind of part of that whole picture in a healthy environment.”
Scientists estimate that around one million species are threatened with extinction worldwide, a number well above historical standards and largely due to human activity. Climate change, habitat loss, pollution, invasive species and overfishing are considered the biggest disruptors to the ecosystem.
Robert Dewey, vice president of government relations and external affairs for Defenders of Wildlife, said it’s critical that the federal government work with state and local governments to identify strategies to tackle these top causes. He explained that the letter from state lawmakers was part of a growing chorus urging the president to address what he calls a biodiversity crisis.
“In the United States, the National Audubon Society estimates that three billion birds have gone extinct since 1970,” Dewey noted. “And last fall, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced the extinction of 23 more species.”
Valdez supports the Biden administration’s America the Beautiful initiative, which aims to protect 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. But he argued a more comprehensive strategy is needed to address the scale of the threats. complex challenges facing the biosphere.
“It’s not a political issue. It’s what we as human beings do every day,” Valdez stressed. “The president setting aside additional land for conservation is a good thing, but it doesn’t matter if we as humans don’t stop taking nature to such a high level.”
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