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Letter: Protect Utah land from climate change impact

Letter to the Editor Deseret News

When the issue of climate change is boiled down, the precipitate can be identified as land misuse and degradation. We need to be protecting Utah land and identifying local “human pressures” perpetuating climate issues.

In August 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report called “Climate Change and Land.” As reported by the Desert News, we need to take action protecting local land as it buffers us from the impacts of a changing climate. Utahns need to support and pass legislation that zones off intact landscapes. Locally, in Salt Lake County, there is growing support for legislation (National Conservation and Recreation Area) that would protect 80,000 of public land in the Central Wasatch mountains from further fragmentation.

Locally, failure to put in place policies like the NCRA which prioritize watershed health, resilient forests and protect wildlife habitat could result in catastrophic wildfires, flooding and degraded water quality. Implementing sustainably efficient policies will help our environment respond to a changing climate.

Setting a goal of permanently protecting at least 50% of Utah’s land will ensure we are prepared for impacts of climate while working to realize other critical actions to sustain life as we know it.

Ben Schoffstall

Salt Lake City