It’s sometimes easy to feel disconnected from nature. Stepping into our offices each morning or sitting in our living rooms each night can make us forget the vital role nature plays in our lives – from the food we eat and water we drink to the places we seek for recreation and spiritual fulfillment.
But new and growing threats – including overdevelopment, pollution and a changing climate – increasingly threaten the natural systems we all rely upon for survival.
Americans right now have an unprecedented opportunity to speak out about their connections to nature – and what needs to be done to ensure the places we cherish today will be there for our children and grandchildren tomorrow.
President Obama has launched a national dialogue about conservation in America, gathering insights and ideas from citizens across the country to create a road map for protecting our country’s natural heritage.
Each and every one of us has a role to play. Just as we rely on nature for survival, nature relies on us to thrive.
What will happen if we as a nation do not take action to protect the places we love? Plants and animals will be separated from their natural homes, watersheds will be disconnected from their downstream estuaries, we will have fewer experiences with the great outdoors, and future generations will lose touch with the incredible landscapes and natural areas that sustain us all.
You can make a difference. You have until Sept. 30 to tell President Obama what should be on the country’s conservation to-do list.
The Nature Conservancy is working with partners to get 1 million Americans to make their voices heard. With America losing 3 million acres of land to development each year, now is the time to speak out. Once you submit your comments, you can help us generate even more voices in support of protecting our lands and waters by sharing this article with friends by email, Facebook or Twitter.
To protect the legacy of America’s Great Outdoors, we must:
- Create a network of large areas of restored and conserved land, water and coastlines around which Americans can build productive and healthy lives.
- Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, making it a permanent and dedicated source of conservation dollars to protect our natural places, parks and recreation areas, working lands and cultural heritage.
- Keep our nation’s lands and waters healthy and strong enough to survive the impacts of climate change, so they can continue to provide us with the food, water, shelter, income and recreation we rely upon every day.
- Provide incentives for conservation easements on working lands that support both people and nature. Private owners hold 70 percent of the land in America. These working farms, forests and ranches provide important habitat and are a foundation of the American economy, culture and way of life.
- Create urban greenspaces that enhance the economies, environment and quality of life of metropolitan areas. Parks, trails and natural areas in and around urban metropolitan areas are essential to economic development and reducing the impacts of global warming while also reconnecting all Americans — particularly young people and people of color – to nature.
We all have a role to play in protecting the legacy of America’s Great Outdoors. Thank you for adding your voice.
(Image: Mark Tercek. Image credit: Erika Nortemann/TNC.)