HUFFINGTON POST: We must protect our U.S. National Monuments established through the Antiquities Act – created by Republican president Teddy Roosevelt

People do not necessarily get excited when a discussion comes up related to the protection of our National Monuments. Let’s be honest, it seems like a boring topic that does not seem to affect our daily lives, but it does.

So how do we make such a topic interesting? So that we can inspire individuals to support an online petition?

Well, we need to inform community members of what is at stake and how they can make a difference – by communicating via an online petition where community members can send their comments directly to the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Let’s review some of the history behind the movement to create and protect our U.S. National Monuments. According to a New York Times article titled “What Is the Antiquities Act and Why Does President Trump Want to Change It?“:

“... the law was enacted in 1906 to prevent looting of Indian artifacts from archaeological sites. The act has mostly been used since then by presidents to turn public land into national monuments protected forever from commercial development or future mineral exploitation. It was in the news at the end of the Obama administration after President Barack Obama created several national monuments, setting aside millions of acres on land and sea.”

Now, President Donald Trump wants to roll back these protections and designations of National Monuments. With an even more ironic twist, it was a Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, who led the efforts to create The Antiquities Act in 1906. He was a staunch conservationist/environmentalist who loved nature and truly believed in protecting our natural lands.  

Through The Antiquities Act, U.S. presidents have been able to protect hundreds of millions of acres of land that have significant cultural and historical significance. But now these U.S. National Monuments are at risk throughout the United States and it does affect our daily lives since our natural resources/environment would become under further threat to be privatized and possibly destroyed through development.

These presidential designated National Monuments protect our public lands, air, water, wildlife, cultural and historical objects. Furthermore, monuments help to support and grow local economies, tourism, and outdoor access.  

Millions of people have organized and advocated for the creation and designation of our National Monuments. We cannot let all of these efforts go down the drain without putting up a fight.

Let us not get punked by President Trump’s new executive order in dismantling our National Monuments. We must be active citizens in protecting 27 of our National Monuments that were created since 1996.

In 2006, former president George W. Bush was supportive in creating the Papahanaumokuakea monument in the Hawaiian Islands, protecting rare marine and land species. Even this monument may become under threat.   

Therefore, time is of essence! please consider submitting public comments via the www.latinosforheritage.org online petition. It will only take a minute or two and you will be contributing to helping to save millions of acres of land that provide clean air and clean water for our everyday subsistence on this planet.  

Randy Jurado Ertll, executive director of the California Latino Environmental Advocacy Network – CLEAN. Web-site:http://www.cleannetwork.org/

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