Business Leads the Way In Supporting National Parks

There is a clear lack of environmental protection for national parks in the Trump administration. President Trump issued an executive order in April instructing the Secretary of the Interior to review all lands declared national monuments since January 1, 1996.

There’s something in the executive order that speaks volumes. It states that monument designations that result from not coordinating with “relevant stakeholders may also create barriers to achieving energy independence.” Earlier this month, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed a secretarial order to speed permits for drilling oil and gas on federal lands and hold more lease sales.

In May, Trump’s budget proposal included a 12 percent cut to the Interior and a 31 percent cut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Those proposed cuts include reductions for programs that are necessary to national parks.

Business is proving that it can lead where government fails. Three companies have initiatives to highlight the importance of national parks. One of those companies is Apple, which is encouraging Apple Watch owners to go to national parks on July 15 by giving them an activity badge and sticker set for use in the iPhone messages app when they complete a 3.5 mile run, walk or wheelchair workout. That length is the same length as a hike from Old Faithful to Mallard Lake in Yellowstone National Park.

Apple will give $1 to the National Park Foundation (NPF) every time a purchase is made in the U.S. with Apple Pay at an Apple store or online from July 1 through 15. The NPF takes part in conservation projects and initiatives that help protect and preserve national parks. Apple’s app store will highlight some of the best apps that help users navigate and explore national parks.

Airbnb is partnering with the NPF to make it easier for people to find a place to stay nearby 10 parks across the U.S. The company created a website dedicated to helping people find the park they want to visit and book a home in the area. Airbnb will also give $50,000 to the Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks.

The apparel company Free People launched its #LoveYourParks campaign to bring awareness about national parks. The company began the campaign by giving away a National Park bundle on Instagram. They asked people to post photos and explain why they love their favorite national park for a chance to win a getaway to the park. Three limited edition t-shirts were created that were inspired by national parks. Each t-shirt highlights a different park, including Joshua Tree National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Yosemite National Park.

What the three companies are doing to raise awareness of national parks and support the NPF is what Americans expect from businesses in a time when government regulation is lacking. A recent survey found that 63 percent of Americans hope business will take the lead in driving environmental and social change forward.

Photo: National Park Foundation