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Bald eagle. © Kent Mason

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2018 Elections: Americans Vote Their Conservation Values

A statement by Lynn Scarlett, Global Chief of Policy and Government Affairs at The Nature Conservancy

The following is a statement by Lynn Scarlett, Global Chief of Policy and Government Affairs at The Nature Conservancy, on the results of the 2018 U.S. elections:

“Nature unites us, and we saw that play out through tremendous support for conservation ballot initiatives across the United States yesterday—in Georgia, Rhode Island, California, Montana, Texas, and Colorado. One message is clear: Americans value clean water, healthy lands and a stable climate.

“When given the opportunity, Americans overwhelmingly support investments in nature. With $10.6 billion passed at the ballot box Tuesday, voters of diverse political backgrounds helped secure healthy lands, waters, and wildlife and vibrant communities for generations to come. These measures will support new open spaces and enable nature-based solutions to challenges such as providing clean drinking water and helping safeguard communities from storms. At the same time, we still face big challenges in advancing climate solutions. Though we are disappointed that the Washington ballot initiative for a carbon pollution fee did not prevail, we see continued opportunities ahead to press for climate solutions.

“At the federal level, the surge in newly elected officials of both parties joining Congress can present a fresh start. Lawmakers have opportunities now—first in a lame-duck session and then in a new Congress—to advance policies that protect our natural resources. Renewing and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, providing strong conservation provisions in a Farm Bill, protecting bedrock environmental laws and addressing climate change all present immediate opportunities to advance conservation that benefits people and nature. Despite these polarized political times, voters show strong bipartisan support for nature and the solutions it provides, so it should also be a priority for the elected officials who represent them. We look forward to working with lawmakers in the nonpartisan and solutions-focused manner that has been a hallmark of conservation for more than a century.

Our science shows that we have a limited window of time to make the big changes necessary for people and nature to both thrive. Our urgent work continues in state legislatures and in Congress to translate Americans’ conservation values into policies and funding that generate large-scale results. Let’s get going to make those changes a reality by putting the voices and conservation values of the American people first.”

Note: Winning conservation ballot measures in the 2018 elections were in California, Colorado, Georgia, Montana, Rhode Island, and Texas.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.