More than 175 Leading Scientists Unite to Protect California’s Biodiversity
SACRAMENTO, CA – More than 175 scientists and researchers who live or work in California have joined together in an open letter urging California policymakers to enact Assembly Bill (AB) 3030. Introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), AB 3030 would establish a state policy to protect 30% of the state’s lands and waters and help to advance protection of 30% of the nation’s oceans by 2030.
Scientists are documenting the rapid loss of natural areas and biodiversity in California, in the U.S. and around the world. Habitat and biodiversity loss are disrupting ecosystems and breaking down the natural barriers that help reduce disease transfer and provide critical ecosystem services such as pollination, water filtration and carbon sequestration. With these services at risk, protecting our wildlife and their habitats is now more important than ever.
As global momentum is building, international leaders and scientists are uniting around a goal to protect at least 30% of the planet by 2030, known as “30 by 30.” To protect our planet from the worst impacts from climate change and decreasing biodiversity, scientists have called upon countries to protect at least half of our planet by 2050, with 30 by 30 being an interim goal.
“The science is telling us that nature is in a state of crisis around the world, threatening our planet and humanity,” said Pamela Flick, California program director with Defenders of Wildlife. “Our state lawmakers have the opportunity to make a difference at a critical time. By passing AB 3030, California will continue its legacy in protecting biodiversity and set an important example for the rest of the country and, indeed, the world.”
Approximately 1 million species are at risk of extinction. As a result, we are facing an unprecedented decline in the biodiversity that keeps our air and water clean and our food supplies plentiful.
“Protecting nature protects people,” said Sarah Rose, executive director for Audubon California. “At least 686 species are at risk of extinction in California and within the next few decades roughly two-thirds of our native birds could easily be lost. We must act to pass AB 3030 to conserve valuable lands and waters that can preserve our state’s natural history while providing cleaner air, water and access to nature for all Californians.”
Although more than half of California is public land, not all is conserved for biodiversity. Currently, 22% of the state’s land area and 16% of the ocean off our coast is protected and managed for conservation purposes.
“Nature is not an amenity; it is essential to our well-being,” said Marce Gutiérrez- Graudiņš, founder and executive director of Azul. California has been a leader in turning the world's attention to the critically important role oceans play in responding to climate change. AB 3030 continues California’s legacy as a global leader in conservation.”
The biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis are two sides of the same coin. The most recent National Climate Assessment found that climate disruption is reducing the ability of ecosystems to provide clean water and regulate water flows, limiting the ability of nature to buffer communities from the impacts of natural disasters, changing migratory patterns and threatening our food systems.
“Rivers and lakes are warming, rising sea levels are causing salty sea water to intrude into groundwater, droughts and extreme storms are becoming more frequent, and more precipitation is falling as rain instead of snow,” said Drevet Hunt, senior attorney at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “All of these changing patterns put increased stress on species struggling to survive in already compromised habitats.”
Early next year, the United Nations will meet to update the Convention on Biological Diversity and consider adoption of a “30 by 30” policy. California can continue to lead the way nationally and internationally with the adoption of policies and implementation of practices that enable the protection of 30% or greater of terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments by 2030.
To read the scientist sign-on letter, review the signatories and get more information, visit here. The letter is open to any scientists living or working in California who wish to join as signatories.
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at NRDC.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety.
Azul is an environmental justice organization working with Latinx communities to protect coasts and oceans. For more information visit: http://azul.org/ and follow us on twitter: @AzulDotOrg