Earlier this month, President Obama announced a conservation plan aimed at achieving “lasting conservation of the outdoor spaces that power our nation’s economy, shape our culture, and build our outdoor traditions.” Building off the work of Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder and No Child Left Inside legislation, the president’s plan “seeks to reinvigorate our approach to conservation and reconnect Americans, especially young people, with the lands and waters that are used for farming and ranching, hunting and fishing, and for families to spend quality time together.”
In part, the initiative grew out of more than 50 “listening sessions” held throughout the country. Upon implementation, the plan will yield:
- Accessible parks or green spaces for our children.
- A new generation of great urban parks and community green spaces.
- Newly-restored river restorations and recreational “blueways” that power economic revitalization in communities.
- Stronger support for farmers, ranchers, and private landowners that help protect rural landscapes and provide access for recreation.
- The reinvestment of revenues from oil and gas extraction into the permanent protection of parks, open spaces, wildlife habitat, and access for recreational activities.
- A 21st century conservation ethic that builds on local ideas and solutions for environmental stewardship and connecting to our historic, cultural, and natural heritage.
Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, was quoted in the White House release saying, “This initiative is an effort to reconnect Americans with the valuable resources all around them and shape a 21st century plan for protecting our great outdoors. . . . It is important that our waters, lands and greenspaces are brought back into our daily lives.” As part of the president’s announcement, the report associated with the initiative calls for “fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund; establishing a 21st century Conservation Service Corps to engage young Americans in public lands and water restoration; and extending the deduction for conservation easement donations on private lands beyond 2011.” A website – AmericasGreatOutdoors.gov – has been set up with information pertaining to the proposal.