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The Key to Halting Climate Change: Admit We Can't Save Everything

Climate change, and human resistance to making the changes needed to halt it, both continue apace: 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history, we may be on the brink of a major species extinction event in the ocean, and yet political will is woefully lacking to tackle this solvable problem.

Given these dire ecological trends, limited public funding and legislative gridlock, the time is ripe for a budget-neutral, executive-branch approach for managing our natural resources: triage. A science-based triage approach should be used to classify areas and species into one of three categories: not at immediate risk, in need of immediate attention or beyond help.

Refusing to apply triage implicitly assumes that we can save everything and prevent change, which we cannot. Prioritization will occur regardless, just ad hoc and shrouded. This triage system would replace the status quo of inadequately managing our full portfolio of over 1m square miles of public land and 1,589 threatened and endangered species.

Christopher Michel

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