July 26th, 2017; Hawaii News Now
People making sentimental appeals on behalf of environmental causes often say things like, “We have to preserve our natural treasures for our children.” One kid from Hawaii apparently didn’t think the grown-ups were doing a good enough job, so he stepped up to do it himself. Nine-year-old Robbie Bond founded a nonprofit called Kids Speak for Parks, and kicked off his summer-long tour of America’s greatest national monuments.
Bond told the Huffington Post that he felt “scared,” “angry,” and “sad for our country…I want to make sure that our national monuments are available for my kids and for future generations.”
Bond plans to tour 27 natural sites this summer, including Bears’ Ears, whose threatened status and celebrity attention NPQ reported earlier this year. He has a sponsorship from Patagonia, the outdoor apparel company that has donated tens of millions of dollars in cash, in-kind, and work hours to environmental nonprofits.
NPQ noted back in January that Ryan Zinke, President Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, “received an extremely low lifetime score of three percent regarding his environmental record from the League of Conservation Voters.”
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The concern stated in the review is,
Monument designations that result from a lack of public outreach and proper coordination with State, tribal, and local officials and other relevant stakeholders may also create barriers to achieving energy independence, restrict public access to and use of Federal lands, burden State, tribal, and local governments, and otherwise curtail economic growth.
Zinke is ordered to determine whether “the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders, to determine whether each designation or expansion conforms to the policy set forth in section 1 of this order.”
Of course, failure to coordinate properly with tribal officials has been the source of plenty of trouble for the Trump administration, from the Bears’ Ears backlash to the protests at Standing Rock, but it’s not restricted economic growth that caused the controversy.
Nine-year-old Bond may not understand the complicated history of tribal relations to government-owned land or the pressure for energy independence, but he knows one thing: The environment has to be protected if he wants to tour sites like Giant Sequoia or Craters of the Moon when he’s older. Bond plans to enlist more fourth-graders in his effort; we hope there are more kids like him.—Erin Rubin