Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed two presidential proclamations reducing the size of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by an estimated 2 million acres. To say the decision was met with disgust and disbelief by many is an understatement.
Fortunately, activists, organizations, and companies are not staying silent. In fact, Patagonia — the outdoor gear and apparel company — is suing President Trump for “stealing” land that does not belong to the U.S. government.
Yvon Chouinard, the owner of the outdoor gear and apparel company Patagonia, told CNN,
“I’m going to sue him. It seems the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits. I think it’s a shame that only four percent of American lands are national parks. Costa Rica’s got 10 percent…We need more, not less. This government is evil and I’m not going to sit back and let evil win.”
His statement reflects the same one found on the Patagonia website, which reads:
“The President Stole Your Land. In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.”
Trump aims to reduce Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to a mere 220,000 acres. He also seeks to cut Grand Staircase-Escalante (which is close to 2 million acres) in half. Sacred Native American lands and archaeological sites are scattered across the territories, which is why former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton passed legislature during their terms to protect the sites. Now, the land could be opened up for oil drilling and coal mining.
On its website, Patagonia points out that there were more than 2.7 million public comments during the Department of Interior’s 60-day period. Additionally, over 98 percent supported maintaining or even expanding national monuments — not reducing them so oil companies can profit.
To educate consumers on the importance of preserving the environment, the company also included a harrowing 2017 statistic from The Wilderness Society. It states, “90 percent of U.S. public lands are open to oil and gas leasing and development; only 10 percent are protected for recreation, conservation, and wildlife.”
Patagonia isn’t the only company committed to protecting the environment. REI and North Face also adjusted their homepages to show their opposition to the administration’s proclamation. Forbes reports that North Face’s homepage features a link to a Kickstarter page to raise $100,000 for the Bears Ears Education Center. Already, the campaign has exceeded $100,000.
If you want to take action, visit Patagonia’s “Take Action” page which allows users to tweet the administration and tell them they can’t take indigenous lands away. The brand also listed 15 organizations fighting for public lands that you can support.
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