News & Insights

A Personal and Organizational Mandate for a Just and Equitable Future

My 70-year-old mother recently told me about a friend of hers who started walking with a cane, not to steady her gait, but to fend off potential attackers. Though my mom isn’t quite ready to carry a would-be-weapon, she said she chooses her daily walking routes with more care these days. As an Asian American woman, anecdotes like these make me incredibly sad and angry. I immigrated to the United States when I was nine years old but consider myself an American. My English is far more fluent than my Korean, and during hot summer days, it’s burgers on the…

Kua'āina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA)

Leading by Listening: Bold Steps Forward for Hawai‘i’s Ocean

This year, on World Ocean Day, Hawai‘i set an example for the rest of the world about how to take action to restore abundance to its spectacular coastlines, well-loved reefs, and deeply valued marine life. Governor David Ige signed nine bills that advance new ocean protections for Hawai’i, including new revenue sources for restoration and management: a visitor fee on commercial ocean tours to fund restoration and conservation (HB 1019), fishing licenses for nonresidents (HB 1021), and new policies like shark protection (HB 553), adaptive management (HB 1020) and inspection authority for conservation officers to strengthen enforcement of existing laws…

Malibu Creek State Park

Biden’s Conservation Commitment Much More Than A Climate Solution

The United States is facing a multitude of crises: climate change, species extinction, languishing public health, racial and economic inequity, and the legacies of colonialism. These crises were destined to collide, which is why resolving them demands an integrated problem-solving approach. President Biden’s launch on May 6 of an ambitious national initiative to conserve and restore 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 (“30x30”) is an important contribution to solving the problems our nation and world have incubated over the past two centuries. We’re at a tipping point, and that is why the ambitious 10-year goals of this…

Fishing boats in Chile

From Ruin to Resilience: Supporting Global Fisheries’ Sustainability amid Pandemic

Marine fisheries generate a critical protein source for more than a billion people worldwide, and an often irreplaceable source of income for developing-world communities exporting to international markets. Yet poor fisheries management frequently results in habitat destruction and overfishing, depleting stocks and steadily raising the costs to land each kilogram of fish.[1] The need for a new paradigm for global fisheries management and trade—built on science-based catch limits and basic labor standards for all industry participants—was urgent before the Covid-19 pandemic. Today the situation is even more dire. As a result of the pandemic and stringent public health measures, small-scale…

RLF Statement of Solidarity with AAPI Communities

RLF stands with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities to condemn senseless violence and bigotry rooted in racism and xenophobia. According to Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Americans have been victims of more than 3,800 hate crimes across the country during the past year, fanned by the racist rhetoric of the former president who called COVID-19 the “Chinese” virus (among other slurs). These hateful acts are unacceptable. Anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported right in our backyard—elderly Asian men have been beaten and killed in broad daylight in the Bay Area in separate attacks—and gained national attention in Georgia…

RLF Statement on Events of January 5-6, 2021

Today has been an extraordinary and scary day in American history, its developments generating feelings across an unimaginably broad emotional spectrum. We have been riveted, watching unprecedented violence in the nation’s capital (and, literally, in its Capitol building) that was driven by at best disingenuous and arguably seditious actions, taken at the highest levels of government. This jaw-dropping, mesmerizing spectacle almost eclipsed events of the last 24 hours in Georgia. Almost, but not quite. For in Georgia we are once again able to celebrate the effectiveness of fair and inclusive elections, led by dedicated, strategic grass roots organizing and advocacy…

Kids with binoculars, from Outdoor Outreach

Tomorrow’s Solutions Will be Found Where Issues Intersect

The lessons of 2020 are harsh and profound: science and leadership matter, resilient natural systems are essential to our health and security, and we have a long way to go on racial equity. As much as we all wish for 2021 to usher in a new era of hope and positive change, the work to achieve that reality is up to us.  The last nine months have made clear that we need to think about and solve our problems in different ways. If we are to ensure a just and resilient future in which people and nature thrive, we must…

Kwoneesum Dam

Partnership and Vision Restoring Abundance to Tomorrow’s Rivers

In the last few years, we’ve witnessed what is becoming a profound change across the American West. Obsolete dams are coming down. Streams are being restored. Tribes are reconnecting with the fish runs of their ancestors. Irrigation diversions are easier to manage. And water is cleaner.   If one follows the water through our nation’s rivers, the removal of these dams might look like isolated incidents. But the individual acts are adding up to a significant whole, and momentum is growing. Change like this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes careful planning, prudent investment, smart partnerships, and effective tools.   Thanks to…

US Capitol

Environmental Progress Tied to Healthy Democracy

The world is changing. Not only is our climate changing—introducing new challenges to our environment and communities—but our technology, politics, society, and economies are changing. These changes are happening more rapidly and radically than ever. Sea level rise, species extinctions, autocratic governments, income inequality, gun violence, and wildfire destruction are all on the rise. These issues go hand in hand, and any meaningful progress requires a high-functioning democracy built on trust, respect for established governing principles, and high voter participation.   At a time of such immense political and social upheaval in the United States, RLF’s partner organizations—Fund for a…

Governor Announces Ambitious Biodiversity Targets for California

Today, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to protect 30 percent of California’s land and ocean by 2030 (30x30). This announcement makes California the first state in the United States to commit to the global 30x30 effort targeted by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The executive order also directs California to elevate the role of natural and working lands conservation in its efforts to combat climate change. “Resources Legacy Fund congratulates Governor Newsom for taking this bold and necessary step to stem the dual threats of biodiversity loss and climate change. With this announcement, the governor demonstrates that…

Pandemic Spotlights Importance of Local Farms to Food Security

COVID-19 has hit our economy like a wrecking ball. While news headlines have been filled with stories about bars re-closing and shuttered hair salons, even the most fundamentally essential of industries, farming, has been hard hit. Now, as wildfires rage across more than a million acres of California, dense smoke fills the air, further compromising the health and well-being of those working to put fresh food on our tables. Just as the first spring crops of asparagus and strawberries were beginning to show up at California farmers markets in March, schools and restaurants throughout the nation abruptly closed and entire…

Recovery with Resilience: Public Investments for a Sustainable, Equitable Future

Image: Montana Conservation Corps crews, made up of high school and college students from the Wind River Indian Reservation, helping Chicago Botanic Garden interns collect seeds for the Seeds of Success program in the BLM Lander Field Office area. As America’s COVID catastrophe worsens, inflicting a depth of social and economic distress unprecedented in modern times, policymakers have a moral duty to implement a socially and environmentally just recovery, one that rectifies past systemic harms and steers our nation toward a brighter, greener, and more resilient future. Seven months since the first case of COVID-19 was detected here, our country…

RLF Statement on the Appointment of Armando Quintero as Director of California State Parks

Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) was pleased to learn of Governor Newsom’s appointment of Armando Quintero as the new director of California’s Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks). Quintero’s appointment resonates with California’s long-standing heritage of protecting its cultural and natural resources and public lands while also promising strong guidance for leading State Parks into a more accessible and equitable future, especially important as our state and nation shift towards a greater consciousness of racial justice. “Director Quintero brings deep experience to the preservation and stewardship of public lands for people,” said RLF Vice President Matt Armsby. “We look forward…

Even a Child Can See: Parks Access is More Important than Ever

The other day, my daughter asked if it was safe for us to have a family beach day again. She immediately frowned when I reminded her that even if a nearby beach were open, we would have nowhere to park because the lots are closed. “So, only people close enough to walk there, get to go to the beach?” she asked. “How is that fair?” She’s only 11 years old, but she already understands something many adults don’t: That everyone needs access to outdoor spaces, but not everyone has it. The COVID-19 crisis is reminding us how essential parks and…

George Floyd protest DC

RLF Statement about Death of George Floyd and Other Recent Racist Acts

The death of another unarmed African American man—George Floyd—at the hands of police is outrageous and horrifying. The origins and history of the United States are steeped in racism, colonialism, and violence. We have come a long way, but these recent events underscore what was already clear: we still have much to do as a society, as individuals, and as an organization to build a more equitable and just future. The timing of this tragedy—occurring during a pandemic that is disproportionately harming and killing African Americans and other communities of color—makes Floyd’s death even more appalling. Two other recent incidents…

River confluence Grand Canyon

Strong and Resilient: Supporting Western Conservation Communications

In early March, seemingly a lifetime ago, Alastair Lee Bitsói and I were excitedly preparing for Utah Diné Bikéyah to host the Advisory Board meeting of the Western Communications Hub (the Hub)* in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Hub, which supports non-profit organizations in advancing high-priority communications efforts, received 44 compelling project proposals and the board was tasked with selecting just six to fund. This work is perhaps more important now than ever as in-person communications have screeched to a halt, making digital communication vital to the ongoing work of so many organizations. I have the honor of managing the…

Blue rockfish and bull kelp

Conservation Leadership More Important Than Ever

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages lives and economies around the globe, all other issues, including conservation, have taken a distant backseat. On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day it’s worth remembering that adversity can spur progress: now is the time to lean into our collective efforts to advance conservation, environmental justice, and climate action. History shows us that even in the most difficult times, leadership and vision can advance largescale environmental successes with far-reaching ecological, social, and economic benefits. In 1933, as Great Depression unemployment peaked at almost 25%, newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps…

wear a mask sign

A Message on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear Friends, COVID-19 has presented us all with unprecedented challenges as we juggle new responsibilities in quarantined life amid the steady drumbeat of despair in the news. I find hope and inspiration in our collective work, which I believe is more important now than ever. We all saw the value of our parks, as people flocked to the outdoors for recreation and peace of mind during the early days of sheltering in place. Due to their overwhelming popularity, many parks closed, forcing people to find other ways to enjoy the fresh air and spring sunshine. Unfortunately, not everyone has an…

Equity is at the Heart of Innovation in California

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a heavy physical, emotional, and economic toll across the globe. As devastating as it is in the moment, we must brace ourselves for the enduring impacts of this crisis, which will last long after we contain its viral growth. As with many crises, the hardest hit and the slowest to recover will be low-income communities. Through our work in the California Conservation Innovations (CCI) program, we hope we can provide support, thought partnership, and comradery as we continue to support new, ethnically diverse leaders and their important work in California’s underserved communities. The CCI…

Finding Hope in the Moment

When I sat down to write this blog, I began by reflecting on the first 20 years of RLF’s work and what the next 20 years will bring. Coronavirus had yet to upend the lives of many outside the Asian continent. Just a few weeks later, most of the country is on lock-down, the economy has imploded, nearly 10 million Americans have applied for unemployment, and the global death toll has topped 45,000, rapidly accelerating.* As devastating as this new reality is, I find comfort in the fact that we are coming together as neighbors, Americans, corporations, philanthropists, and global…