Public Lands and Waters

LCV Education Fund works to protect our country’s public lands and waters. We uplift local movements, increase opportunities for all people to experience and feel welcome on public lands, and educate communities on how public lands and waters are a resource for public health and climate change solutions.

Group of people posing in front of the Grand Canyon.

Inequitable access to public lands in our country means that not all communities enjoy the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment.

We work with communities to protect nature and share its benefits more equitably with all communities, especially communities of color and Indigenous communities that continue to live with the consequences of this country’s painful legacy of racism and exclusion.
We helped places of cultural significance like Bears Ears in Utah gain national monument protection, and achieved a ban on new oil and gas leasing in nearly all of the U.S. Arctic Ocean.
Today, we continue to fight for more national monuments and we continue to educate communities, uplift movements, and work with organizations across the country to turn our public lands and waters into solutions to the climate crisis.

How We Fight for Our Public Lands and Waters

Humanity’s ever expanding footprint, loss of natural areas to development, and the climate crisis all place unprecedented strain on natural systems. This puts the water, air, and food supplies upon which every living thing depends in jeopardy. The simplest and most effective way to address this complex crisis is to preserve more healthy lands and waters. That is why LCV Education Fund is helping to lead the fight to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030 – our part in a global, science-backed effort to protect 30% of Earth’s land and ocean by 2030, dubbed 30×30.

We educate the public on the importance of protecting more iconic and important habitats through monuments, marine sanctuaries, and other protected public lands and waters. But how we achieve the preservation of 30% of our country’s lands and waters is as important as reaching this goal. By educating and engaging the public, the media, and decision-makers on the important role our public lands play in leading the fight towards a clean energy future, we tackle legacy pollution on public lands and build a healthy, sustainable environment for all.

  • Expanding equitable access to nature

    Every community needs access to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment to enjoy the benefits of the outdoors.The United States has a painful legacy of racism and exclusion toward Indigenous and communities of color, and natural resource policy is no exception. The ugly history of land theft perpetrated by the federal government on Indigenous tribes, and the persistent disregard for their sovereignty, is perhaps the most glaring example. Yet this pattern of inequity has continued to the present day, including the location of far more industrial development and pollution and less access to nature in and near low-income communities of color. That is why LCV Education Fund is committed to elevating the benefits of both protecting nature and sharing its benefits more equitably with all communities. We do this in part by prioritizing authentic partnerships with and lifting up organizations led by people of color, to ensure that the conservation movement reflects the diversity of our country.

  • Turning our public lands and waters into climate solutions

    While many people think of our country’s public lands as protected from industrial development, the reality is that a staggering amount of drilling and coal mining occurs on them. Nearly one-quarter of all U.S. carbon emissions is generated from energy extracted on public lands and waters. It is time to turn our public lands and waters into solutions to the climate crisis.

    To make this transition, LCV Education Fund works to educate the public on the importance of stopping fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and increasing solar, wind, and other forms of clean energy in ways that are supported by the communities impacted by them. Our outreach strategies focus on uplifting the hard work of local communities that are working to protect critical sources of clean drinking water, outdoor recreation access, fish and wildlife, and cultural uses – like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Creating a more welcoming and inclusive system of public lands

    Our country’s national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and other public lands are a popular source of pride for many people. Unfortunately, they are often inaccessible, unwelcoming, and exclude communities of color, disabled people, low-income communities, Indigenous tribes, and LGBTQ+ communities.  LCV Education Fund seeks to tear down these barriers and create a welcoming, inclusive system of public lands through outreach and education.

    National parks and other public lands don’t just protect nature; they also preserve and interpret our country’s history. The choice of whose history to preserve has not been equitable, resulting in a disproportionately low number (¼) of national parks and monuments that tell the stories of diverse communities. That is why LCV Education Fund focuses on increasing awareness and public support for public lands that tell a more complete story of the United States, like the Stonewall National Monument, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, and Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument.

    We are also mindful that our public lands rightfully belong to Indigenous people and have been stewarded by them since time immemorial. We are committed to educating the public on Tribal Nations’ efforts to foster greater tribal sovereignty as well as co-management and co-stewardship arrangements for our public lands, such as the management structure established for the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.