The Environment

Public Lands, We the People | A Bold Solution to the Climate Crisis: Public Lands

July 1, 2020  • Energy and Environment Program

The first installment in the series, Public Lands, We the People,  the panel on July 1 explored the ways we can – and must – manage our public lands to be an essential part of a national strategy to combat climate change and biodiversity loss, improve community health, and ensure all people can enjoy nature’s benefits.

Constituting nearly one-third of the land mass of the U.S., America’s public lands and the communities who rely on them are at the forefront of the climate crisis. Current management of these lands, prioritizing fossil fuel development, has made them a significant contributor to the U.S. climate change problem – almost a quarter of the nation’s emissions comes from coal, oil and gas produced on public lands and waters, the extraction and pollution of which disproportionately impacts indigenous communities and communities of color. But these lands are supposed to be managed in the public interest and have the potential to play an even bigger role in climate solutions – as a natural tool to reduce such dangerous climate emissions, as a network of large landscapes to protect clean air, water and wildlife, and as a foundation for building resilient communities.

Featured Keynote:
The Honorable Sally Jewell
Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior


  • The Honorable Raúl Grijalva, Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources, U.S. Representative, 3rd District of Arizona
  • Mark Magaña, Founding President and CEO, Green Latinos
  • Chase Huntley, Interim Deputy Vice President, Energy & Climate Program, The Wilderness Society   

Moderated by: Emily Holden, Environment Reporter, Guardian US