The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Victory: Obama Protects 1.8 million Acres of California Desert
California famously has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to landscapes: spectacular mountains, unique redwood forests and a coastline that ranges from idyllic beaches to rocky cliffs. But as many a lottery winner can tell you, even the most fabulous wealth can be squandered all too easily if one isn't careful. And once you've lost an ancient forest, an unspoiled coastline or a pristine desert, it's impossible to get it back.
That's why it's great news that President Obama has picked up where Congress left off more than 20 years ago when it passed the California Desert Protection Act. The newly designated Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains National Monuments protect parts of the Mojave and Sonoran wilderness that were being squeezed by growing populations in both southeastern California and southern Nevada as well as facing threats from mining and other industries.
Once considered hostile wastelands to be crossed as quickly as possible, the deserts of California are valued today for their austere grandeur, unique wildlife and (when the rains come, as they have this year) incredible wildflower displays. Supporting a thriving local tourism industry, millions of visitors each year visit Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks and the Mojave National Preserve. These lands are an irreplaceable part of our outdoor heritage and if you've never visited them, then you are in for a treat when you do. My family has taken some of our most memorable camping trips throughout this beautiful region.
The new national monuments contain both cultural and natural riches. They encompass ancient trade routes of indigenous Americans, as well as historic Route 66. They provide essential habitat for desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, mule deer, golden eagles and a host of migratory bird species. In fact, the striking landscapes that have been protected include not only deserts but also wetlands, woodlands and mountain vistas. They provide first-class opportunities for hiking, bird watching, horseback riding, snowshoeing and skiing.
The new monuments will also provide much-needed wildlife corridors between the San Bernardino Mountains, San Jacinto Mountains and Joshua Tree National Park, which will make it easier for plants and animals that are struggling to adapt both to climate change and encroaching urbanization. They will never know who was responsible for giving them a chance to survive, but we do.
Take a moment to thank President Obama for preserving these irreplaceable lands for generations to come.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Cathy Brown
Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.
Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.
Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.
By Jessica A. Knoblauch
It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.
tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Rachel Licker
As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.