Dear Secretary Zinke

Public Lands and Climate Change

Lately, you’ve been hearing a lot about Bears Ears and the fight to keep our public lands public. Here at POW, we care deeply about our public lands as they are our playgrounds– these are the iconic places we ski, ride, bike, fish, and run. We know you care about public lands, too.

But, we want you to know that protecting public lands has positive benefits for the climate, too. So, you should care about protecting these places even more. What might happen to Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, if it is sold off? It most certainly would be a prize for extractive industries to drill, mine, and frack. To fight climate change, we don’t need to extract more energy. We need to invest in a clean energy economy. What might happen to Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument in Maine, if it is sold off? It could be logged, destroying the very trees that now make up a productive carbon sink, absorbing carbon that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. To fight climate change, we need more carbon sinks. We need to protect our public lands to fight climate change.    

Our federal government has threatened to sell off, or shrink, our national monuments. Over the last month, the Department of Interior has collected comments on Bears Ears (and they are taking comments on other National Monuments until July 10– you can submit comments easily here thanks to our friends at REI). Today, we’re proud to join our friends in the outdoor industry and remind Secretary Zinke that after receiving nearly one million comments, he should absolutely do more, not less, to protect our legacy.