As the dust from the election slowly settles, a new landscape promising real progress in 2021 awaits us.
Voters chose a new leader with a starkly different vision. The election confirmed that a majority of Californians are united in their support for climate action and racial equity.
We are hopeful that President-Elect Biden will recommit to the important work of reining in rising temperatures, protecting wildlife habitat, and addressing environmental injustices. As a first step, Biden has pledged to immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.
Over the past four years, the Trump administration weakened 125 environmental policies, including protections for wetlands, endangered species, and migratory birds. Right now, two-thirds of North American birds are threatened with extinction because of climate change.
The fates of birds and humans are deeply connected. Bird survival is human survival. If birds are in trouble, so are we. The birds are telling us we must act now.
Thanks to the courageous stances of Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Asm. Ash Kalra and other state leaders, California held the line against the rollback of landmark pieces of federal conservation protections, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Clean Water Act.
With landslide support from the Audubon network, California became the first state in the nation to commit to protecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030. Biden pledged to follow our lead by making that a nationwide commitment.
We now have a historic opportunity to create an inclusive economy that generates green jobs and stronger communities that protect birds, improve public health, conserve water, restore wetlands, and reduce emissions. With every step, we must address the disproportionate impact climate change and pollution have on frontline communities and people of color.
Racial inequality touches every aspect of our country, including outdoor recreation and conservation. Birdwatchers and outdoor enthusiasts who are Black and brown are a vital part of the Audubon community and they experience unwarranted suspicion, confrontations, and racialized violence in the outdoors. This must end.
At Audubon, we are committed to becoming anti-racist organization, through our advocacy and by challenging and changing our own oppressive history, structures, and practices. We ask you to join us in transforming our culture and the broader conservation movement.
We look forward to working with you as we create a more just and thriving California for all birds and people.