How conservation banks can help

Co-authored by Mitch LottCGO Undergraduate Research Fellow

Today is Earth Day, reminding us to revisit the environmental progress we’ve made and work to confront the biggest environmental challenges still before us. One of the challenges that the Biden Administration has promised to tackle is conservation — committing to protect 30% of America’s land and water by 2030. This is an ambitious goal as only 12% of land in America is currently considered protected, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

How can we realistically expect to meet that goal in the next ten years? Part of the solution may…


Cooperative extension for better conservation

Source: Photo by David Lusvardi on Unsplash

Co-authored by Logan Krebs — CGO undergraduate research fellow

After a lower-than-average snowfall year, Utah Governor Spencer Cox recently declared a state of emergency for Utah due to drought conditions across the state. Living in a desert, residents of Utah may wonder if there’s anything they can do to make a difference. One organization working to help is Utah’s cooperative extension. Utah State University Extension has worked to develop online resources for homeowners, businesses, and farmers with practical tips on how to reduce water usage. They’ve also developed webinars and plan to host workshops that engage the public in the…


How public lands can help fund conservation and provide renewable energy

Coauthored by Mitch Lott—CGO undergraduate research fellow

One of President Biden’s first actions in office was halting new leases for oil and gas production on federal land and waters. The moratorium will remain in effect until the Department of the Interior completes a review of the environmental impacts of oil and gas production on federal land — especially on climate change.

Pausing (and potentially permanently halting) new oil and gas development on federal lands is one piece of Biden’s ambitious plan to improve the environment. But shutting down energy production on federal lands also creates a new set of barriers…


Ostrom’s lessons for the next era of environmental policy

Photo by Thomas Richter on Unsplash

Next week President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Biden and his team plan to take bold action to address climate change and other environmental challenges. Those plans include stricter limits on pollution, federal incentives for clean energy, and higher fuel economy standards. He’s also discussed a commitment to preserving 30 percent of America’s land and water by 2030. For reference, about 12 percent of land in the U.S. is currently protected as state and national parks, wilderness areas, permanent conservation easements, and other protected areas.

Another ambitious goal from the Biden…


Policymakers should stop trying to force them to

Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

The battle over how gig economy workers should be classified continues to rage on in California. Last month California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that exempts more workers from the requirements of AB5 — a controversial law that went into effect at the beginning of this year that makes it more difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors. And next month, voters will decide whether to approve Proposition 22, which would override AB-5 by categorizing app-based drivers as independent contractors.

AB5 created a 3-part test for determining whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor…


Incentives + education for low-water landscaping

Coauthored by Harrison Naftel

Air conditioning units and sprinklers are still humming across most of the U.S. as the dog days of summer start to wind down. For the driest areas in America, sweltering days with soaring temperatures mean high rates of water use. And the future will likely bring even more demand for water. Western states like Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah continue to see high rates of population growth, and many predict that increasing demand will place pressure on already scarce water supplies.

One of the biggest culprits in terms of water use is the beloved American yard…


What can we learn from the first stimulus checks?

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Ellie Willard coauthored this article

August recess is set to begin this week for the House and next week for the Senate, and lawmakers are still negotiating on an aid package meant to help businesses, states, and individuals cope with the economic effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While they may disagree about the specifics of unemployment benefits and aid to states, policymakers seem to have reached agreement on an additional round of direct payments to Americans.

The CARES Act provided the first round of direct payments to 150 million Americans, with the goal of providing “emergency assistance and health…


And it may be a long-term trend

Co-authored with Olivia Hansen

More people have been working from home over the past few months than ever before in modern history. In the wake of COVID-19, government restrictions and company policies alike have been put in place to encourage social distancing by requiring workers to clock in from their home office or spare bedroom. Of course, not everyone can work remotely (not to mention the many Americans who are currently out of work). But for the percentage that can work remotely, the large-scale shift towards remote work seems to have staying power. …


Screens are winning, and that’s not a bad thing

Photo by Tina Witherspoon on Unsplash

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country are working from home at unprecedented levels. Although remote work has been on the rise for some time now, up until the pandemic, the trend was relatively slow. Gallup found that from 2012 to 2016, the percentage of workers who did at least part of their work from home increased from 39 to 43 percent. But even in 2017, the U.S. Census found that only 5.2 percent of Americans worked entirely from home.

COVID-19 changed all of that as states enacted stay-at-home orders, and companies moved to telework to…


What kind of aid works best?

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new estimates for the number of Americans who are now jobless. The news isn’t good. Unemployment in America has now reached rates not seen since the Great Depression, with 14.5 percent of workers unemployed. These high levels of unemployment have largely been driven by the response to COVID-19. States across the country have ordered non-essential businesses to close in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. And although some states have begun to reopen, the reopening of America is going to be gradual.

Megan Jenkins

Research director @cgousu.

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