Public lands in the United States are natural allies in efforts to address climate change, wildlife loss and to improve community health via access to nature.
Their sheer scale, scope and reach offer the unmatched potential to absorb large amounts of carbon emissions, provide habitat for wildlife need to survive and adapt to rising temperatures, and create space for people and communities to flourish.
Unfortunately, public lands in America are not managed in a way that prioritizes addressing these crises.
We must reimagine a management system for our shared lands that benefits nature and communities.
In the summer of 2020, the Aspen Institute and The Wilderness Society convened the series of public conversations to explore how our public lands can contribute to solving the climate and biodiversity crises, as well as help address the racial inequities we face in our country.
We also enlisted ideas on how to reignite a more robust public participation in how land management decisions are made in the country.
The result is the report below entitled Public Lands, We the People: Creating a Healthy and Just Future for All.
If appropriately managed, public lands can become a natural tool to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, halt biodiversity loss, improve community health and wellbeing, create new sustainable economic opportunities, and enhance the resilience of natural systems.