State lawmakers across the country are calling on the Biden administration to come up with a plan to protect the country’s dwindling animal and plant diversity.
More than 350 lawmakers from 46 states, Puerto Rico and Washington DC sent a letter to the White House calling for a national biodiversity strategy.
The letter includes the signatures of 15 Washington state lawmakers, including Senator Liz Lovelett – D-Anacortes. She said biodiversity is declining in Washington state.
She sponsored a bill in the 2022 session to protect kelp.
“To get these natural vegetative habitats for your juvenile salmon, then it builds up to our beloved and completely endangered killer whale,” Lovelett said. “You see this in our marine environment, and we have similar stories of these webs of life all over our country that are in jeopardy.”
The letter was coordinated by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. It indicates that 193 countries have developed some form of national biodiversity strategy.
Robert Dewey is vice president of government relations and external affairs at Defenders of Wildlife, which is one of a host of organizations and scientists backing a national biodiversity plan.
He said the country was going through a crisis and a 2019 study by the world’s top scientists found that up to a million species could go extinct over the next few decades if we don’t fix it.
“It’s a threat not only to wildlife but also to our global economy,” Dewey said, “to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the medicines we depend on for our own survival.”
Dewey said people are likely familiar with some of the five main drivers of biodiversity decline, including climate change and habitat loss.
“Other more subtle causes of extinction and biodiversity loss need to be addressed,” Dewey said. “These include the overexploitation of wildlife – for example, think of overfishing. Pollution is also a major factor and a growing threat from invasive species.”
Dewey said the Biden administration has put in place important building blocks in that effort, such as an initiative to protect 30% of the U.S. landmass by 2030 and the National Nature Assessment. . But he says a more comprehensive policy is needed.
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