The Woman Stepping Up to Take on Climate Change
Environmental conservation is one of the biggest issues of the current times, bringing together representatives from every country to discuss what needs to be done to preserve our planet and its wildlife.
But thanks to one woman’s extraordinary expertise and her new position with the United Nations, we are improving worldwide efforts to help our planet.
Attorney and Army veteran, Monica Medina has been an advocate and a key player for sustainability and conservation efforts throughout her entire career.
She has worked as legal counsel on behalf of environmentalist organizations such as NOAA and the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, oversaw the Justice Department’s Environmental Division under President Clinton, led conservation efforts as the Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission under President Obama and has worked with various other environmentalist and ecological organizations.
Now, Medina’s expertise will be utilized in a whole new way: as the United States’ first ever Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources; a position designed to confront the environmental crises that directly affect our planet’s wildlife and water supply. In tandem with her position as the assistant secretary for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the state department, Medina’s position makes her one of the biggest power plays in environmental conservation among world leaders.
“I am really honored to have this role and this title,” she told ShareAmerica. “We’re in a world where the loss of nature is overwhelming and a real potential threat to the health of the planet and the health of people.”
In her new role, Medina will be working to support two of the most important ecological crises that effect humanity: the protection of biodiversity and increasing water security.
Decades of evidence shows that water security is essential to global efforts to increase equity and economic growth, build inclusive and resilient societies, bolster health and food security, decrease the risk of conflict or instability and tackle the climate crisis. Meanwhile, environmental stressors, like the climate crisis, nature crimes — including illegal logging, mining, land conversion — and wildlife trafficking, have deep and detrimental impacts on the biodiversity of our planet and the availability of clean and safe water for human use. The two crises are inextricably linked, and the state department and Special Envoy Medina are committed to addressing the crises holistically.
“These have deep and detrimental and lasting impacts on biodiversity, and on the availability of resources like clean and safe water,” Medina stated. “We are committed as we can be to try to address all of these crises at the same time.”
As part of Medina’s position, she has attended and will continue to attend discussions and negotiation that will foster new conservation efforts to support biodiversity and water preservation. These conferences include the 2022 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), the December meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties (COP15) and the Intergovernmental Conference. She will also be in charge of forming partnerships with other countries to find climate solutions.
“I am really honored to have this role and this title. We’re in a world where the loss of nature is overwhelming and a real potential threat to the health of the planet and the health of people.” – Monica Medina
Additionally, Medina’s position will require her to implement a first-of-its-kind initiative dedicated to advancing water security in the U.S. and abroad. The White House Water Security Action Plan and the Global Water Strategy, both of which Medina will be leading, will identify the direct links between water and U.S. national security, and harness the resources of the U.S. government — from leveraging science and technology to informing our diplomacy, defense and development efforts — to advance global water security and foreign policy goals. Securing water safety is additionally believed to prevent conflict and promote global peace and stability.
“We see water scarcity as a growing threat to peace and security in so many parts of the world, so we made it a priority,” Medina said.
Though climate change has been one of the top growing concerns for people of differing citizenships, political beliefs and cultures, Medina has faith that these new partnerships and programs will have a positive impact on the future of ecological conservation. “We are working to advance our climate ambition, to strengthen resilience to climate change and to really get as strong an outcome as possible from COP27. We as the U.S., are bringing an awful lot to the table there.”
Sources: ShareAmerica, U.S. Department of State, whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia
Top Photo: Monica Medina, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs of the United States, poses for a picture during an interview with AFP on the sidelines of the UN’s first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-1) to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution on November 28, 2022. (RICARDO FIGUEREDO/AFP via Getty Images)