Traveling within our country is truly special. We have dry red deserts, snow-capped mountains, vast flat plains, deep blue lakes, and rapid rivers. Since it is such a treasure, it is always exciting when my mom randomly states “let’s go. Right now.” With a packed up grey blue minivan, we go to national parks and monuments where these special places reside. I grew up traveling around this country for 18 years; seen it change but bloom with more excited tourists, like myself. However, I have also seen more fossil fuel companies mining more of these beautiful landscapes.
Why do we see this as a concern? In 2017, Trump cut down the size of two national monuments in Utah for fossil fuel companies. Half of the land that was once beautiful red rock wilderness, with buttes and Native American history, is now being mined. Trump has devastated Native American tribes, Local Utahans, tourists like myself, and environmentalists.
From news articles, textbooks, documentaries, we have been told that fossil fuel energy is contributing to climate change. And because of that, we have been biased to believe that these companies aren't allowed on beautiful landscapes, especially these two national monuments. Yet, this pretty land, is public land. Land shared amongst all who benefit from it. This includes tourists, hunters, fishers, hikers, campers, fossil fuel companies, other energy companies, and logging companies.
In Bears Ears National Monument as well as Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, we should realize that they are on public land. These monuments are on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which allows for energy companies to mine and drill to give us energy and boost our economy. Even though they are tearing up pretty land, let us protect what we have left, the other half. The Trump Administration allowed this to happen, and hurt native tribes, locals of Utah, and tourists as a result.
Let us now take action for more equally distributed public land between the people just like the legal definition states. Let us make sure we are critical thinkers when it comes to making decisions. Because, when we do research, take into account all of the people who have strong ties to the land, and realize our climate state and how trashed it is, we can determine what the best options are for land distribution is in the US.
Even though energy companies are allowed on public land, there are better energy options like renewables. And, when we the people come together, we can make a difference next time the government wants to trim national treasured land for oil, coal, and gas.