The drama surrounding the 2020 US presidential election has overshadowed some key victories for science and conservation. Feeling anxious waiting for top-of-the-ballot closure that may never fully come? Celebrate these big wins for the planet and learn about another bill in Congress right now:
Colorado made history by passing legislation to reintroduce the gray wolf. The move will restore the species to a key portion of its range between existing populations in the Northern Rockies and the desert Southwest. While this is a decisive win for recovery of the species, success on the ground will require empathy and statewide collaboration in learning to coexist with this apex predator–wolves are expected to move through ranching communities as they travel between wild habitats.
States across the country approved almost $3.7 billion in conservation funding. In Adventure Scientists’ home state of Montana, Initiative I-190 passed with bipartisan support to legalize the sale of recreational marijuna; this change is projected to generate $360 million for conservation over the next 20 years. Voters in California, Colorado, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Texas opted for tax increases, bonds and constitutional amendments in support of green energy, public spaces, wildlife habitat, and natural resource protection.
Nevada passed Ballot Question 6, which ensures the state will shift to 50% renewable energy by 2030. The goal is to create energy freedom for a state that depends heavily on importing energy. By relying on more renewable energy, Nevada can invest in infrastructure to generate solar, wind, and hydroelectric power - creating jobs and taking control of their energy market.
With Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ success at the federal level, the US can expect important changes in the first 100 days on the science front: 1) a speedy reentry to the Paris Agreement on climate; 2) rejoining the World Health Organization; 3) experienced scientists leading the country’s Covid-19 task force (and potentially more job security for Dr. Fauci).
While these are exciting steps for environmental and human health, there is still more work to be done. Energized to engage beyond the election? Consider contacting your senators and House representative to voice your support for the Environmental Justice For All bill currently before Congress. This bill “addresses longstanding environmental inequities that harm communities of color, low-income communities, and Tribal and indigenous communities across the country.”
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