Conservation teams are optimistic after Biden's election
When it became known on Saturday, November 7th that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were elected as the next President and Vice President, several conservation groups made statements of support for the future administration. And after the relentless setbacks of environmental laws, treaties, and regulations over the past four years, the groups have also determined what they want to see from Biden.
Here is a recap of what they had to say:
David Yarnold, President and CEO of the National Audubon Society:
“People are rising to demand action against climate change and racial justice. And birds tell us there is no time to waste: more than two-thirds of North American birds are threatened with extinction due to climate change. We need courageous, just and lasting action against the climate. That is why Audubon's 1.9 million members help lead this movement. Rural and urban, progressive and conservative, black college students and white grandparents agree that everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, should have access to clean air and water, and feel safe and welcome outdoors.
"After the votes are counted, it is important that the rule of law is respected and that the peaceful transfer of power continues as it has since our nation was founded. The tone of this election season has highlighted the deep divisions in our nation. Audubon members are deeply concerned on the racist, sexist, and homophobic rhetoric that is present in some campaigns. These divisions make it even more difficult to address climate change and protect the places where both birds and humans need to thrive. But Audubon members know it a better way – one that uplifts everyone and creates a healthier, more resilient world.
“We have a long history as community builders and because we are everywhere our membership reflects America. Our membership is 53 percent progressive and 47 percent moderate / conservative. We have members in almost every county in the United States.
"In a recent survey of our members, we found the following:
- Almost every Audubon member (97%) agrees that "Every American, regardless of race or color, should have equal access to clean air and water". This belief is shared by 98% of progressive Audubon members and 96% of moderate and conservative members – a deeply ingrained value across political boundaries.
- More than 95% of all Audubon members – including 9 in 10 moderate and conservative members – say they have concerns about the following issues: habitat degradation for birds and other wildlife; Air and water pollution; Attacks on the environmental laws of bedrock; and oil drilling and mining on protected public land.
- 75% of all Audubon members, including the majority of moderate and conservative members, rate climate change as one of their three major problems among all of the problems America faces today – and 82% of Audubon members (including 61% of moderate and conservative members Members) are personally "Very Concerned" about the growing effects of climate change.
“Our membership shows strong support across the political spectrum for action related to environmental, climate and community priorities.
“We need lasting solutions with support across political borders – and our members are ready to speak out. Environmental concerns are no place for partisan divisions.
“Audubon is determined in our pursuit of inclusiveness, our commitment to become an anti-racist organization, and our determination to address the disproportionate effects of climate change and air and water pollution on marginalized communities.
“To that end, we will advocate a more resilient and inclusive economy with more green jobs, cleaner air and stronger communities that protect birds, conserve water, restore wetlands and reduce emissions.
"We look forward to working with elected officials to make this vision a reality."
Leila Salazar-López, Managing Director of Amazon Watch:
"The political and economic interests behind the destruction of the Amazon rainforest – including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro – are losing a powerful ally in Trump's election defeat. This is clearly good news for the rainforest and its peoples, who are facing ongoing attack.
"During the debates, Joe Biden spoke out against the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and offered a carrot ($ 20 billion) and stick (" grave economic ramifications ") approach to govern Bolsonaro's egregious environmental management President-elect Biden will translate these words into concrete strategies and actions as part of his broader international climate strategy. The Environmental Justice Movement and Congress must hold him accountable for these words and ensure an ambitious approach based on the support of indigenous forest rangers in the world concentrated throughout the region.
“Aside from the resumption of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Biden government can and should take many measures to protect the Amazon, which is a critical ecosystem for climate stability. Prioritizing human rights issues in foreign policy will be important as Indigenous and other community leaders on the front lines take huge personal risks to defend the forest. Diplomatic, trade and bilateral aid policies must focus on human rights, the environment and the climate.
“Absolutely critical to the Amazon's climate and protection is a tenacious approach to continued investment by Wall Street companies in the very industries that are causing climate change and promoting the destruction of the Amazon. We anticipate that the regulator appointed by President Biden will fully and specifically address the impacts of climate change on fossil fuels, deforestation risk and the financial industry, and the damage these investments have caused to frontline communities. "
Kierán Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biodiversity:
“The election of Joe Biden is a testament to the power of people to speak up and reclaim their land from a destructive, racist and misogynist president – one who puts polluters and profits ahead of humans, wildlife and the planet.
"We are encouraged by this result and deeply grateful to each of you who cast a vote to drive Donald Trump from the White House. It is time for this national nightmare to end and a new day to begin."
"Obviously we don't agree with everything the Biden administration does. Indeed, from his first day in office we will work hard to get him to cope with the climate emergency, address the wildlife extinction crisis, To overturn Trump's death sentence on gray wolves and reverse the disastrous Trump rollbacks that are tearing up our public lands and polluting our air and water.
"These fights will come and we will be ready.
"But today we know that our democracy is more secure and our country is on a finer path – finally on a higher path."
Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife:
“After a tense season, the outcome of this election offers a glimmer of hope and a welcome break from the relentless attacks on wildlife and wild places of the past four years. President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris will take office as the nation faces a growing climate crisis, an unprecedented biodiversity crisis, and an overwhelming loss of confidence in the government that is now threatening our democracy. We look forward to a sober awareness of the work ahead, but with optimism and a purposeful determination to change direction for wildlife.
“The new government must get the nation on track to create a clean energy economy and undo the damage that has been done to our nation's public land, wildlife and other natural resources. Investing in conservation and clean energy go hand in hand and can be the catalyst for a stronger economy and a cleaner and healthy environment for all Americans.
"We call on the Biden administration to revitalize and restore the federal government's role as the careful steward of America's natural resources. We look forward to working with them in the years to come."
Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association:
"Although our country is in a phase of change, our national parks can help bridge political differences, as they have done so many times before. We saw how important our parks are to uniting us as Congress and the current government have come together to pass critical laws to repair our parks and protect millions of acres of public land. Our country needs bipartisan efforts like this more than ever.
“Together we can make a real difference for our communities, our parks and our environment. As it has done for more than a century, NPCA continues to support our national parks and everyone who works to protect them. And we urge everyone who looks after our parks and everything they protect to join us.
“The past four years have been brutal for our national parks and public areas. Clean air safeguards have been lifted, wildlife in the park has been endangered, and protection from clean water has been undermined. Under this administration, we did not have a permanent director of the National Park Service, creating instability and damage that could take years to reverse. Turbulence and industry-friendly officials at the top levels of the Home Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Bureau of Land Management have forced these agencies to prioritize the development of American public lands over the protection of our national parks and neighboring communities.
“We have serious work ahead of us to undo the damage that has been done to our national parks and public areas. But we are ready. We will forge vital relationships with the Biden administration, as well as new allies and returning park champions in Congress, and work together on behalf of our national parks. "
National Audubon Society
Center for Biodiversity
Defender of the Wildlife
National Parks Conservation Association
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