Has Donald Trump even been to a National Monument? Who knows, but 9-year-old Robbie Bond has, and he aims to protect them from the president and Interior chief Ryan Zinke. In April, Trump issued two executive orders calling for a review of 27 National Monuments protected under the Antiquities Act of 1906, including the largest protected marine area on Earth, Papahānaumokuākea, in Hawaii – Robbie’s home state. He claimed that former presidents had abused their power in establishing these monuments and that states should take over control. This news scared the young activist, so, with help from his parents Michelle and Robin, he set up a non-profit organization called Kids Speak for Parks to “mobilize “an army of 4th graders” to speak out for public lands.
“You can’t protect something you don’t understand,” Robbie told HuffPost. This is why he has set up a plan to tour all 27 monuments, posting videos and photos of his trip on social media along the way. By educating the public about the treasures under review, he hopes people will be more inclined to act to save them.
“I want to make sure that our national monuments are available for my kids and for future generations,” he said.
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According to the paper, he and his parents have even set up an initiative that would get inner city kids out into the wilderness. The plan, he told HuffPost, is to advocate for and educate others about US national monuments and parks before they vanish.
Robbie last posted a video from Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, following a visit to Bears Ears in Utah, one of the most controversial monuments under review. There he met with Alejandro Yazzie from the Ute Mountain Tribe that has longstanding connections to this land, which protects 100,000 Native American archaeological and cultural sites considered sacred by many tribes.
Last month Zinke recommended a plan to shrink the monument’s boundaries, designated by former President Barack Obama. However, HuffPost reports, he will not recommend changes to Idaho’s Craters of the Moon, Washington’s Hanford Reach, or Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients national monuments.
Posting from Bears Ears, Robbie wrote: “One thing is clear when kids speak people listen!”
We hope he’s right.
Via Huffington Post
Images via Kids Speak for Parks