Elected Officials Leading the Charge for Conservation
By: Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia
The retirement of U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson has helped me look past my disappointment in the disfunction of Washington, D.C. to remember that people with compassion and integrity use the power of their political leadership to make positive change for our communities, the state and the nation. As an advocate for the farmers, sportsmen, and businesses who make up Georgia’s outdoor economy, Senator Isakson’s record on conservation is an important part of his legacy. He was instrumental in protecting natural areas — national forests, wildlife management areas, and parks that the people of Georgia enjoy by the millions every day. Senator Isakson understands why funding conservation helps preserve the quality of life in our growing state. In 2019 he voted to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and co-sponsored the bill to provide LWCF with the full funding it needs to protect natural areas across the country.
The choices our elected officials make are central to securing a future in which all can thrive. The Georgia General Assembly demonstrated its support for conservation when it passed legislation in 2018 creating the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act, a ballot measure that was approved overwhelmingly by the state’s voters. That support from Georgia’s voters and elected officials led to the establishment of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program, which provides dedicated funding to protect greenspaces critical for wildlife, clean water and the tourism economy. This funding is helping improve existing parks and helping create new ones so that people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy the outdoors.
There are many issues at stake as we head into 2020, and I firmly believe that Georgia’s policymakers want to find solutions. The Nature Conservancy looks forward to working with Georgia’s elected officials including Senator Isakson’s successor, Senator Kelly Loeffler to employ practical, science-based approaches to the major challenges before us — securing abundant and clean water as our population grows and adapting to the changing climate by helping local communities manage in times of drought and flooding.
When the legislative session opens this month, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia looks forward to continuing our work with legislators and partners to advance initiatives that benefit people and nature across our state. Sustainability is the key to ensuring success for our economy, our communities and our natural world. From the enhanced resilience provided by green infrastructure to the economic benefits of renewable energy, together we can make our communities safer, stronger and better positioned for the future.
Please join us in protecting Georgia. Cheers to a happy, healthy 2020 where people AND nature thrive!!