Biological altruism is a phenomenon that causes plant and animal species to behave in a manner that helps another organism, even at the cost of their own well-being. While experts are still theorizing exactly what motivates this behavior, a common perception is that, especially among species with complex social structures, these instances of helping another organism will ultimately benefit that which provides the help. Protecting and assisting other organisms helps to make all organisms thrive because the actions of one will impact another; because we are all connected.
Yes, we are all connected. With the recent horrific acts of violence targeted at the Asian American community -- yet another vivid example of the tragic results of systemic oppression and prejudice -- this is crucial to remember. Earth Day is approaching on April 22nd, for its 51st consecutive year, with the theme of “Restore Our Earth.” We must understand that this day is about much more than just nature, and that restoring the Earth involves restoring ourselves, too. There is no environmental well-being without the well-being of those inhabiting it. Wildlife, plant species, and humans all the same – when one of us is struggling, in pain or distress, all of us are.
The Authority is proud of its effort to protect nature for the benefit of those who call it home while also working to provide equitable access to nature across its entire jurisdiction. Last year, we witnessed the nexus between social justice and climate change, exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health crisis. Throughout the trying year, the Authority worked tirelessly to help people connect with nature either on our preserves, which had a 200% increase in visitation to over 635,000 people, or in the safety of their own homes with our environmental education programs that we quickly transitioned to be virtual. We continued our conservation work by investing in the protection of an additional 2,209 acres of open space for wildlife and the public. We continue to leverage our funding by working with state and local agencies, non-profit conservation partners and foundations to accomplish high-priority land and open space conservation projects and protect California’s rich landscapes, wildlife, and communities.