We Are One Nation Under Trees
For 145 years, American Forests has provided nonpartisan leadership to conserve and restore forests across America, from cities to the wilderness. We know from experience that the federal government plays a critical role in the stewardship of our nation’s public and private forests. We have worked with great forest champions from across the political spectrum.
In the wake of these hard-fought elections that have left our country with a close division of political power, we believe that America’s forests can once again provide bipartisan common ground for leaders in both parties to unite and forge progress. Now more than ever, America needs to invest in trees and forests because of their important contributions to provide clean air and water, protect biodiversity, supply forest products and help slow climate change — all while creating millions of green jobs. These are shared public interests that can and should transcend politics.
We congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory. It is promising that Biden spoke regularly on the campaign trail about using America’s trees and forests as part of his agenda to build back better, including a major push to expand and accelerate reforestation in cities and large, natural landscapes. When it comes to the fight against climate change, America’s forests and forest products already capture and store 15% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. Federal leadership for reforestation along the lines of Biden’s plans would dramatically increase this natural climate solution while supporting as many as 40 jobs per million dollars invested.
Harris will be the first woman and first person of color to serve as vice president. She brings to the White House a unique track record of leadership on environmental and climate justice, which can be aided by urban reforestation to create Tree Equity in socioeconomically disadvantaged urban neighborhoods that lack trees. Trees in cities are not just scenery. They provide critical protection from extreme heat and a filter for air pollution. They also reduce energy use from air conditioning and heaters because they provide shade in the summer and block wind in the winter. These are vital services in the face of climate change.
As evidence of bipartisan appeal, new forest leadership from the Biden-Harris Administration can build from federal efforts initiated by the Trump Administration to help conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees globally by 2030. Welcoming Republican leaders to collaborate with the new administration will put trees to work healing our nation’s political divides, as well as our economy and environment.
The 117th U.S. Congress will also feature strong bipartisan leadership and momentum for our forests. Issues such as forest conservation, restoring forests to reduce wildfire risk, and increased reforestation have been the subject of bipartisan legislation in the current 116th Congress, and played a significant role in many winning campaigns across the country. On November 3, voters in red and blue states further confirmed their support for forests by approving state and local conservation funding measures totaling more than $3 billion.
With so much at stake, American Forests looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration and members of Congress from both parties to move forward together as “One Nation Under Trees.”