A girl collects water supplied by Bale Mountains National Park in southern Ethiopia. Competition for increasingly scarce resources is already leading to tension in many parts of the world, placing U.S. national security at risk. (© Robin Moore)
Nature. You may not give it much thought. You may take it for granted that it will always be there for you. You may not realize that there is a direct connection between nature and you, but there is. None of us can survive without the services that nature provides for us: food, fresh water, fertile soil, pollinators, life-saving medicines. The simple fact is that nature doesn’t need people; people need nature.
Recently, I met with a bipartisan group of 13 members of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. Joining me at this meeting were my colleagues from Conservation International’s Board of Directors — Harrison Ford, Rob Walton and Wes Bush. We discussed the direct connection between resource scarcity, international conservation and America’s economic and national security interests. We were encouraged by the strong recognition of the role that nature plays in our security and well-being as well as of the need to make strategic investments today that help prevent the need for making much larger expenditures in the future. Just a small fraction — far less than 1% — of the federal budget is spent on international conservation, and the return on investment is significant.