In this time of uncertainty, it has become increasingly apparent that the values of Washington do not align with the common people, nor the Earth that sustains them. Not a revolutionary idea of course—but one that has repeatedly proved itself to be true—especially in the context of recent news regarding the review of America’s most cherished national monuments.
Twenty seven of our wilderness sanctuaries, from the forests of Maine to the oceans of Hawai’i, are at risk of despoliation by the current presidential administration in an unprecedented attempt to mine, drill, and destroy in the name of temporary economic gain.
“Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, [is determining] if previous administrations exceeded their authority in setting aside craggy vistas, ancient cliff dwellings and other large tracts of land for protection,” according to the New York Times. “He is expected to recommend that some be scaled back, or perhaps eliminated entirely and transferred to state ownership.”
It is a curious time we are living in. One in which an entire administration has represented itself as the epitome of the environmental enemy. One in which the inherent worth of untouched Nature has been deemed as trivial. The threat of scaling back—or even eradicating—the boundaries of these protected lands is nothing more than a declaration of worship for America’s Lord and Savior: profit.
To reverse the efforts of previous presidents in acknowledging historical, cultural, or scientific value in these locations is not only offensive but illegal. The American government structure was not established with the intent to support the authoritarian-like pursuits of one individual wrongfully elected by an outdated system, allowing him to write away sacred indigenous lands and adored national monuments without congressional input.
If Theodore Roosevelt only knew how the amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties would later be lusted over with hungry eyes for the almighty dollar, perhaps the Antiquities Act would be slightly more binding.
Some suspect this review to represent a larger effort of the Trump administration in undermining and diminishing strides made under the presidency of Barack Obama. But regardless of the motive—be it political tactic or a callous lack of consideration for Nature—we must publicly oppose these efforts. And on a larger note, welcome the desacralization of dirty energy and extraction that demands destruction to Earthly masterpieces.
To oppose the reevaluation and potential depletion of our valuable national parks, the following recommendations are listed below:
- E-mail or fill out a feedback form with the U.S. Department of the Interior to announce your stance on reducing protection for national lands.
- Contact your congressman and senator and demand opposition to a government that does not value the act of preserving Nature.
- Join, volunteer, or donate to one of the many trustworthy environmental organizations that are actively protesting this affair, such as the National Parks Conservation Association.
- Publicly express the importance of our beloved parks and declare yourself against their exploitation.