Merkley Leads Senate Action Calling for a National Strategy to Defend Biodiversity

Climate chaos, pollution, and invasive species endanger biodiversity, threatening life as we know it around the world

Washington, D.C. – As climate chaos intensifies, threatening more than one million species and creating an unprecedented biodiversity crisis, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley introduced a resolution in the Senate today to establish a National Biodiversity Strategy.

“As the impacts of climate chaos become deadlier and more frequent—threatening our health, planet, and future—we must continue to do all we can to protect the precious biodiversity that keeps our planet strong, balanced, and healthy,” said Senator Merkley. “We must implement smart, well-coordinated efforts and solutions that work across all levels of government, business, and community leadership to preserve biodiversity for future generations.”

Thriving and healthy ecosystems support the security, health, and well-being of people not just in the United States, but around the world. Wide and diverse ranges of animals, plants, and microorganisms support healthy ecosystems, and without these critical components, life on our planet as we know it cannot function properly. Species biodiversity contributes to pollination for food and flowers, water filtration, soil replenishment, production of medicinal products, and creation of a natural buffer for zoonotic disease.

Currently, there is no overarching coordination between the federal government, state and local governments, Tribes, private landowners, and nongovernmental stakeholders to maximize conservation efforts around the country. Many of these entities are working on their own biodiversity plans, but without a national effort, those efforts risk being fragmented and siloed. This resolution expresses the need to establish a strategy that would encourage federal agencies to identify and pursue a full range of actions within existing laws, encourage consideration of news ones, and establish a new four-year assessment to monitor the progress in addressing the biodiversity crisis.

Joining Merkley in sponsoring this resolution are Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Earlier this year, U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO-02) and Jared Huffman (D-CA-44) introduced a companion resolution in the House.

“A comprehensive approach is needed to tackle the present threat of declining biodiversity, and I am thankful to Senator Merkley for leading this effort in the Senate calling for the same. I look forward to continuing to partner with his office to bring an end to this crisis and restore our commitment to protecting our planet’s species,” said Rep. Neguse.

“From pollution to ecosystem degradation and emissions-fueled climate change, reckless human activity is driving a rapid decline in biodiversity. This is not just a crisis for ecosystems and wildlife, but for the well-being of our communities and planet as a whole,” said Rep. Huffman. “We need a strategy that encompasses all levels of government so we can preserve a future that is rich in biodiversity, and this resolution brings solutions to the table to make the U.S. a leader in addressing this problem worldwide.” 

This resolution is endorsed by over 120 organizations.

Full text of the resolution can be found here.

A summary of the resolution can be found here.