Zinke Calls for Scaling Back Bears Ears National Monument
Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke is recommending President Trump scale back portions of the Bears Ears National Monument, saying that the Antiquities Act should be used to protect the "smallest area" needed to cover important sites. Zinke's recommendations, announced Monday, add fuel to the controversy over the Utah monument, which President Obama designated during his final days in office.
Green groups and several Native American groups announced their intent to sue should the administration follow Zinke's recommendations. While the land in Bears Ears is not thought to contain significant oil or gas deposits, mining and fossil fuel interests cheered the decision as a preview of how the Trump administration may handle scaling back protections for more oil and gas-rich federally protected land.
Outrage ensued after Zinke's announcement.
"The Trump administration wants to carve up every last inch of this country so that corporate polluters can line their pockets, but the people who live, worship, work and rely on the protection of public lands and waters will stand up to this attack," said Mary Nicol, Greenpeace USA senior climate campaigner. "The Interior Department is still reviewing nearly 30 monuments, including Bears Ears, that could lose their protected status. It's time to put Secretary Zinke on speed dial and demand that the Interior Department protect public lands and waters."
"Despite months of rhetoric claiming his respect for Teddy Roosevelt's legacy of public lands protection, Secretary Zinke revealed he is just another politician looking to exploit and develop America's public lands at the expense of our children and grandchildren," Marcario continued.
"Bears Ears holds irreplaceable cultural, ecological and recreational value and it needs our protection. If the president decides to usurp Congress's authority and shrink the boundaries on his own, Patagonia will take legal action to defend our public lands. We hope everyone who cares about public lands will continue to let their voices be heard."
Since the Trump Administration launched the "review" of national monuments in April, more than 1 million Americans have weighed in to uphold protections for monuments, including Bears Ears. A recent analysis showed that communities located near monuments and other protected public lands have stronger economies and quality of life.
Since it was signed into law in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents—eight Democrats and eight Republicans—to protect existing public lands as national monuments. No president has ever attempted to revoke a national monument.
"Diminishing protections for the Bears Ears National Monument is an affront to the sovereign Tribal Nations whose cultural heritage is at risk," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. "It's a thinly veiled attempt to sell out our public lands and an insult to people across the country who love and care about our great outdoors."
"Our public lands are the embodiment of our democracy," he added. "We will continue to work to ensure everyone can see themselves on our public lands, not just cronies of Donald Trump."
For a deeper dive:
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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