Senator Dave Min Introduces Legislation to Protect California's Biodiversity for Future Generations
(SACRAMENTO, CA) — Today, Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine) announced the introduction of Senate Bill (SB) 337, which would establish a statewide goal to conserve at least 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030, also known as 30x30. Conserving the Earth’s lands and waters is one of the best tools available to prevent extinctions and protect biodiversity and ecosystem services. Protecting lands and waters can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon, helping to advance climate goals. The bill, which is sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife, passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“We are in the midst of a global extinction crisis, and it is time to double down before it’s too late,” said Senator Dave Min. “I am proud to author legislation that puts California on track to protect 30 percent of state lands and coastal waters by 2030. We must act swiftly and decisively to ensure that our iconic species, like California condors, monarch butterflies, tule elk, golden trout, sea otters, elephant seals, grey whales, redwood trees, giant sequoias, and California poppies, survive the threats posed by habitat loss. Through the strategic conservation efforts outlined in SB 337, we can protect the places we love and the species they support for this generation and the next. Thank you to the incredible partnership built by the Power in Nature Coalition, and for spearheading this legislation and codifying our statewide conservation goals into law.”
“As a globally significant biodiversity hotspot with the highest concentration of species that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth, California has much to lose,” said Pamela Flick, California Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife. “More than 900 of the state’s species are at risk of extinction and two-thirds of our native plants will lose most of their range within the next century. While our state leads the way in protecting biodiversity, some of our most diverse areas — such as those that provide pollination, water filtration and carbon sequestration — remain unprotected. We must codify our state 30x30 goal to protect California’s unparalleled natural treasures.”
“We must act with great urgency to reach the 30x30 goal,” said ecologist Dr. Jun Bando, executive director of the California Native Plant Society. “Making the transition to clean energy alone won’t save us from the climate crisis. We need to protect our ecosystems as well. Protecting 30% of our land and coastal waters by 2030 is the bare minimum needed to avoid ecosystem collapse, safeguard biodiversity, and stabilize the planet’s climate.”
The United Nations estimates that a quarter of all species face extinction, many within decades. California is not exempt from this crisis. Every time a species or population vanishes, the associated ecosystem’s capacity to function and provide services upon which humanity depends erodes. These effects are expected to worsen over time. According to some scientists, the extinction crisis is the most serious environmental threat to the persistence of civilization because extinctions are irreversible. Scientific models show that we are approaching a tipping point: if habitat conversion is not markedly slowed or halted in the next 10 years, “points of no return” will be reached for multiple ecosystems and species.
The 30x30 effort is rooted in recommendations from the international science community that we must protect 30 percent of our lands and waters to avoid the worst impacts from climate change and reverse the extinction crisis. SB 337 would codify a goal from Executive Order N-82-20 issued by Governor Newsom in 2020. While the Newsom Administration has shown great leadership in adopting this ambitious conservation goal in line with recommendations from the scientific community, the goal’s deadline will extend long past this Governor’s term. Establishing the goal in statute will ensure it persists and remains a commitment for future administrations through 2030.
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