Rural Matters/ Conservation Matters
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Rural Matters/ Conservation Matters

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Produced by Sustainable Northwest. For more info: www.sustainablenorthwest.org

Produced by Sustainable Northwest. For more info: www.sustainablenorthwest.org

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    Rural Matters/ Conservation Matters Rural Matters/ Conservation Matters Presentation Transcript

    • Rural Matters Conservation Matters
    • Did you know…
    • 97% of America's land area is considered rural. Source: Prof. Andrew M. Isserman, University of Illinois, 2007. 20% of Americans live in rural areas.
    • If rural America were a separate country, it would rank as the world's 23rd largest nation, Source: The Center for Rural Strategies, “RURAL REALITY vs. REALITY TV: ANATOMY OF A PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN” just behind France, Great Britain, & Italy.
    • Of the 250 poorest counties in America, 244 are rural. The rural poverty rate is 21% higher than in metropolitan areas.
    • 50% of rural Americans consider themselves "conservatives." In non-rural communities this figure is around 40%. Source: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
    • Rural communities have the highest voter registration rates in the U.S. Source: Election Data Services, Inc., 2004 Election Day Survey Report However, rural areas report the lowest voting rates in the nation.
    •  
    • So what does "rural" mean?
    • The federal government defines "rural" as counties with less than 50,000 residents, Or any area that is not defined as "urban."
    • According to the U.S. Census, The Grand Canyon is classified as “metropolitan,” Same as The Bronx, NY.
    • Urban & Rural Areas - U.S. Census
    • A few rural stereotypes…
    • "Rural Utopia" Rural life is simple. Source: Kellogg Foundation, How to Talk Rural Issues , 2005. Poverty is a virtue. They take care of themselves. They chose this lifestyle. Stereotype:
    • "Rural Dystopia" Rural communities are backward. Source: Kellogg Foundation, How to Talk Rural Issues , 2005. They are "others," separate and different from the rest of America. Stereotype:
    • "Change is the Biggest Problem" Rural America is a victim of urban encroachment and modernization. Source: Kellogg Foundation, How to Talk Rural Issues , 2005. Stereotype:
    • "Rural Needs Protection" Rural areas should be treated like museums with a no-touch, no-change policy. Source: Kellogg Foundation, How to Talk Rural Issues , 2005. Stereotype:
    • Rural areas are America's vacation land. Let’s not spoil it. "Rural Needs Planning" Source: Kellogg Foundation, How to Talk Rural Issues , 2005. Stereotype:
    • Do you agree?
    • So what's happening in rural America?
    • Changes Affecting Rural Areas:
      • Globalization
        • Decline of traditional industries & jobs
      Source: National Rural Assembly Final Report, 2007.
      • Migration
        • Changing demographics of communities
      • Underinvestment
        • Deterioration of infrastructure, services, & leadership
          • "Which of these environmental issues have had an effect on your family and community over the past 5 years?”
      Source: Carsey Institute, A New Survey of Views from Rural America.
    • Percentage of Resource Extraction Jobs by County Source: U.S. Census, County Business Patterns, 2004. (from Sonoran Institute).
          • For the future of your community, do you think it is more important to use natural resources to create jobs, or to conserve natural resources for future generations?”
      Source: Carsey Institute, A New Survey of Views from Rural America.
    • "Amenity-rich areas are growing and likely to grow more over the next decade."
    • What about the rural landscape?
    • The U.S. Forest Service manages over 190 million acres of forests and grasslands. The U.S. BLM manages 258 million acres of range, forest, and grasslands.
    • U.S. Federal Lands & Indian Reservations
      • The Forest Service spent $1.5 billion on fire suppression in 2006.
      That's 45% of the total agency budget.
      • Communities within five-miles of federal lands have higher poverty levels than places further away.
      The closer you live to public lands, the higher your community’s poverty level.
    • Are public lands management issues declining in the American political agenda?
    • Source: Frank R. Baumgartner, “Social Movements and the Rise of New Issues,” 2002.
    • Source: Frank R. Baumgartner, “Social Movements and the Rise of New Issues,” 2002.
    • Some threats to the rural landscape…
      • Wildfire
      During the 2006 wildfire season 9,873,745 acres burned nationwide. 125% above the 10-year average.
    • Invasive Species Over 3.5 million acres of National Forest land are infested with invasives. Americans pay more than $138 billion per year to deal with the problem.
    • Land Conversion & Fragmentation Every day, America loses more than 4,000 acres of open space to development . That’s around three acres per minute.
    • The intersection of rural communities and environmental health is a complex issue. But there's hope.
    • How to get rural America on the national agenda, in four steps…
      • Reframe rural issues around assets, not just needs.
      2. Develop a unified voice for rural issues & perspectives.
    • 3. Identify key members of Congress and engage them in rural development initiatives. 4. Develop a national media campaign that demonstrates rural America's diversity & opportunity.
    • And above all…
    •