A focus on climate change impacts for Public Lands Day in Nevada
Friday, September 22, 2023
Many across the state of Nevada will celebrate National Public Lands Day tomorrow.
Nevadans will be able to visit state parks for free on Saturday, to encourage people to explore all the recreation opportunities the state has to offer.
Andrew Sierra, political and organizing director for the Nevada Conservation League, said this year's focus is about the effects of climate change and equity. He added underserved and underinvested communities many times are not able to enjoy the outdoors, which is why, in the most recent legislative session, they supported efforts to fund the Outdoor Education and Recreation Program and bridge the equity gap.
"Not many people's families are too worried or concerned about taking a hike when they are more concerned about putting food on the table," Sierra acknowledged. "If we can help our schools, if we can help community groups through that -- and working alongside state agencies to be able to really get to the point of equity -- then we solve many problems."
Sierra added his group and other stakeholders will be at Craig Ranch Regional Park this Saturday starting at 9 a.m. He said organizers chose to hold the event there, as it is what he describes as an "important part of North Las Vegas," closer to BIPOC and front line communities disproportionately affected by climate change.
No matter where you may find yourself in the state, Sierra pointed out public lands play a significant role in what it means to be a Nevadan. He added it is why it is important to recognize both the conservation efforts and the clean energy transition taking place on Nevada's public lands.
"Clean energy -- be it public lands, be it conservation -- all these issues are interconnected in one way or another," Sierra stressed. "If it is public lands that interests you or if it's clean energy, I just urge folks to get involved and get informed, especially when it comes to clean energy. It's going to be an ever-evolving industry."
In the Department of Energy's latest energy and employment report, Nevada ranks fourth for the most new clean energy jobs in communities of color. Sierra noted his group would like to see more federal dollars invested in education and apprenticeship programs to keep the momentum going.
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