By Jane Lubchenco, Deputy Director for Climate and Environment
Heather Tallis, Assistant Director for Biodiversity and Conservation Sciences
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to conserving and restoring nature, giving communities the tools that they need to be resilient, and achieving our climate goals. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, we are taking aggressive action to drive significant progress.
Just yesterday, President Biden took major new actions to conserve and restore lands and waters across the nation, including by establishing Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas, and initiating a process to create the world’s largest highly protected area around the Pacific Remote Islands. He also announced the first-ever U.S. Ocean Climate Action Plan, a groundbreaking roadmap to harnesses the power of the ocean to advance immediate, transformational steps to protect ocean health and address the climate crisis.
This year’s global theme for Earth Day, “Invest in Nature,” underscores the importance of these efforts, and the need to do even more.
Building on the bold actions taken and strong partnerships forged across sectors over the past year, and emphasizing areas of action identified in the Administration’s America the Beautiful Initiative and the Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is calling on the private sector, foundations, academic institutions, educators, health care providers, and individuals to join the mission of investing in jobs, youth, and resilient cities and communities – through nature.
Ensuring more American workers have new, marketable skills for the growing nature-based economy.
The changing climate and innovations to confront our changing needs are creating new opportunities for workers, but realizing these opportunities requires closing skill gaps. One area primed for strong growth is skills to support nature-based solutions – actions to protect, sustainably manage, or restore nature that provide benefits to the environment and people.
Skill development is needed for designers, engineers, and managers to design nature-based solutions; supervisors, operators, construction teams, technicians, assistants, scientists, and inspectors to build them; and technicians, and maintenance and ground workers to maintain and adapt them. Gaps also exist for legal teams, accountants, and finance experts familiar with these solutions, how to fund them, and how to manage their risks.
Creating green learning environments and providing opportunities for youth to engage with nature every day.
Evidence suggests that a view of nature, or a chance to learn outdoors, can support a good education. The amount of greenspace in and around schools has been linked with improved cognitive function, greater focus, and positive development outcomes for students. Schools, cities and parks of all sizes have a role to play in giving youth the opportunities they deserve.
Building resilient cities and communities through nature-based solutions.
Cities and communities inspired by nature will be the resilient living centers of the future. Increasingly, people want to live in cities with nature embedded in neighborhoods, as part of buildings, securing water supplies, cooling streets, and absorbing stormwater. These nature-based solutions give cities and towns innovative, cost-effective ways to address pressing challenges from flooding to mental stresses.
We want to hear about the actions leaders and organizations are taking to invest in jobs, youth, and resilient cities and communities through nature. Share your ideas and new commitments by emailing NaturePolicies@ostp.eop.gov. Commitments received by April 6, 2023, may be amplified by OSTP.