Two relatively new phrases have entered daily discussions at the National Park Service: "climate change" and "sustainability."
Scientists tell us there is little doubt that human activities are having a major impact on the atmosphere and ecosystems of our planet. Glaciers and snow packs are melting, stream temperatures are going up, coastal erosion is increasing, and changes in weather patterns are leading to drought and heat waves both locally and regionally. Read more about the NPS response to climate change.
Sustainability is about managing the Earth’s resources so they are passed on to future generations of all life in a healthy and abundant manner. Although sustainability has been a major mission in the Parks beginning with the 1916 Organic Act, it is only in recent years that a full fledged commitment and mandate from the NPS has occurred. It touches all aspects of NPS operations: design, policy, management, and interpretation. Read more about the NPS and sustainability.