What Biden’s New Initiative Means for the Parks

By Emily Pennington.

On May 6, the Biden administration unveiled a new, ten-year plan for how it intends to make good on Executive Order 14008, which called for the conservation of 30 percent of our nation’s land and water by 2030. This number, which has been backed by scientists, is considered the critical amount of conserved natural areas necessary to help slow climate change and prevent catastrophic species loss.

“Never before has a president outlined a goal of this kind, and certainly not this early in an administration,” said Brenda Mallory, chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, on a press call. “Let me be candid: nature in America is in trouble, and Americans across the country are seeing and feeling the impacts.”

One of the key pieces of this new initiative will be establishing an interagency working group to create an American Stewardship and Conservation Atlas, a set of guidelines aimed at mapping out better benchmarks for what exactly constitutes “conserved” land. The administration was careful to use the word “conservation” when it came to talking about protecting natural spaces, rather than “preservation,” a linguistic choice that was intentional to highlight the importance of private lands serving in tandem with public lands to hit the target goal.

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