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30 by 30

In late January, President Biden signed an Executive Order committing the United States to “30 by 30” — a global initiative that calls for 30 percent of the planet’s lands and waters to be conserved by 2030. The 30×30 concept is based largely on A Global Deal for Nature, which makes clear that the primary goal of conserving 30 percent of the planet is to save biodiversity.

Northeast Wilderness Trust believes that the best way to restore and sustain our region’s full diversity of life is by conserving interconnected, resilient ecosystems, the heart of which are forever-wild strongholds of nature: wilderness areas. In the coming months, many conversations will be taking place across the country, and here in the Northeast, about what should count towards the 30 percent goal and how we can achieve it.

Some will argue that all categories of conservation land, from urban greenways to farm fields protected from development, should count. While all types of conservation are valuable, they do not all hold the same weight when it comes to offering homes for shy and sensitive wildlife, supporting vital ecological processes, and storing carbon indefinitely. The growing team at Northeast Wilderness Trust will be doing everything we can to center wildlands in the 30×30 conversation.

Executive Director Jon Leibowitz’s recently published an op-ed in VT Digger to bring attention to the importance of wilderness and diversity in implementing the 30×30 initiative. Our team has been testifying in front the Vermont House Natural Resources Committee about how protecting wild nature supports the Vermont Conservation Design30×30, and Nature Needs Half visions. Northeast Wilderness Trust helped develop—and was an initial endorser of—the Global Charter for Rewilding the Earth, so we believe in aspirational, far-reaching targets for conservation. But beyond words on paper, we are committed to protecting real places, on the ground, in our home region—for beauty, for life, forever.

Let’s rewild the Northeast…together!

Photo: Lake Champlain, Vermont by Brendan Wiltse