Albuquerque Wilderness 50 Celebration – Take-Aways

November 4, 2014
Proxy Falls Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon, USA

By Thomas Goebel, age 18
Jensen Beach, Florida, USA

I was privileged to attend the Albuquerque 50th Anniversary celebration of the signing of the Wilderness Act by President Johnson. There were two days of local area field trips or a pre-conference training at the Rio Grande Nature Center, followed by four days of panels, keynote speeches, and exhibits at the downtown Hyatt Regency Conference Center and the Albuquerque Convention Center.

I’d like to share some of the thoughts that the Celebration gave me about Wilderness, the Wilderness Act, and lands protection in general; and what they mean to the Sierra Club, as well as all conservation organizations, as we go forward into the 21st Century in a very changed political and public reality.
But first, a bit more about the Celebration.

By Rodney Lough Jr., PRO Happy Valley, Oregon, USA Rodney Lough Jr. Wilderness Collections www.rodneyloughjr.com

By Rodney Lough Jr., PRO
Happy Valley, Oregon, USA
Rodney Lough Jr. Wilderness Collections
http://www.rodneyloughjr.com

The Wilderness50 planning team was created as a corporation with 30 members, including all the key government land agencies and national conservation non-profit organizations. More than a 100 additional organizations, foundations, and businesses provided funding and resources for the celebration. For more on this, go to: http://www.wilderness50th.org/about.php. This resulted in a six day event in Albuquerque and the surrounding area featuring field trips, training, exhibitions, 84 presenter panels, 20 keynote speakers, and many social events that connected together a broad range of government employees, activists, academics, and business people in celebration of 50 years of Wilderness for the American people. It was exceedingly well planned and executed, a tribute to the many people in our country who care about our natural legacy.

By Joe LeFevre Oswego, New York, USA

By Joe LeFevre
Oswego, New York, USA

With so many exciting events all happening at the same time, no one person could be at even a small percentage of them, so every attendee likely came away with different message. Here’s what I came away with:

Downers:

Wilderness, and lands protection in general, is in trouble! Even the Wilderness we already have!! As Keynoter Chris Barns (Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center) so eloquently stated: all three support legs of the Wilderness stool are broken. Those are 1) public support, 2) government agency funding and training, and 3) non-profit focus. The latter two are a reflection of the first – a broad erosion in public support for the concept that our pristine public lands need to be protected for future generations.

Lands stewardship is being broadly neglected by the government agencies. This is a result of a lack of funding from, and in many cases, downright hostility by members of Congress to the concept of public lands protection, even to those already protected. This is resulting in an increasing number of destructive activities occurring without preventive action, and even authorization by government agencies of illegal activities on protected lands.
Climate change is threatening the health of all public lands. There is very little planning and no funding to mitigate this threat. The “management” of Wilderness Areas is a controversial issue, but climate change, as well as the century long exclusion of fire, are dramatic human “trammels” upon the naturalness of Wilderness, so we need an intelligent conversation about how we deal with these situations.

Uppers:

Young people!! I looked around and couldn’t believe my eyes – there were young people everywhere. Woo-hoo!
There were so many energetic, intelligent, and eloquent activists from all persuasions: government; non-profit; academic; and public. It gave me great hope.
Universal recognition by all sectors represented that we must do more, much more, to educate and sell the need for lands protection, especially Wilderness, to the Public. It must be our focus, otherwise we will fail in this century to keep the protected lands that we have.

So, what to do?

Educate the Public – We must educate the Public, not just on a generic need for Wilderness or lands protection, but about what it does for them at a personal level: clean water, clean air, solitude, a connection to nature, a home for their favorite animal or tree or flower, or preservation of their favorite place for hiking, hunting, fishing or camping. This education effort needs to become part of everything we do.
Connect with Young People – We need a greater focus on connecting with young people. This can happen by reaching out to the schools, but is becoming an increasing challenge with the narrowing focus on “curriculums”, such as Common Core, and falling public school funding around the country. We must be creative in tailoring our appeal to be part of the school’s curriculum needs. Also, see the next item on stewardship.
Become Stewards – Stewardship must become part of our conservation advocacy program. Sierra Club has not traditionally focused on stewardship, but we must add this to our portfolio. I heard many wonderful stories of agency/non-profit stewardship collaboration that’s making a real difference. It’s a highly effective way to connect with young and old, and get them engaged, educated, and trained. Plus, it creates publicity and legitimacy for all our conservation goals.
Lobby – Every lobbying effort with members of Congress needs to include advocacy for increasing funding for protected lands stewardship. The Wilderness Act and many other laws require the lands agencies to do this, but without funding and direction from Congress, it is not being done.
Use Economics – I was astonished to see photos of Bend Oregon’s Old Mill District on the screen in Albuquerque, but John Sterling of The Conservation Alliance and Ben Alexander from Headwaters Economics used Bend as their primo example for how protected lands can rejuvenate a community. Even where the other benefits from protected lands are rejected as “wasting our resources”, the $ still changes minds. Go to http://headwaterseconomics.org/ – the amount of locale specific information available there for free is truly amazing.
Open Minded Thinking – We need to question old attitudes about Wilderness management and future lands protection models, as well as our willingness to work with those with whom we disagree. We are facing new challenges with climate change and a burgeoning population. Our old protection models may no longer be possible in many places, but new models may gain acceptance and accomplish our protection goals. Blindly demanding no commercial activities on federal lands or total passivity in Wilderness Areas immediately eliminates us from the conversation about how these areas will be managed. We must be willing to reason together with other interests, or we place ourselves in the same box as the right wing whackos.

Alaska Range Denali Wilderness, Alaska, USA

By Tim Aiken, age 18
Stanford, California, USA
http://www.timaiken.org

A time of hope:
I came away really uplifted and energized from my six days in Albuquerque. There are many challenges before us, to even retain what we have, but there is a great opportunity to recreate the lands protection movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. Climate change will eventually demand a great rethinking of how we interact with our natural world. That will be our opportunity. We must prepare and be ready to take that opportunity.
Larry Pennington, Oregon Chapter Chair


Call for Photos: Announcing the HDC 50th Anniversary Photo Contest

June 11, 2014

Oregon Chapter Sierra Club High Desert Committee

Call for Photos

Calling all photographers! Your help is needed. You’re invited to submit your best shots of Oregon’s wilderness areas for a chance to be featured in the Oregon Sierra Club High Desert Committee’s Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary Photography Exhibit this fall. Both professional and amateur photo submissions are encouraged.

High Desert_2What is the Sierra Club High Desert Committee’s Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary Photography Exhibit?

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this year, the Sierra Club High Desert Committee will be putting on a photography exhibit highlighting the wilderness places that are yet to be protected in our very own state of Oregon. By exhibiting these photographs, we hope to increase the awareness and inspiration to protect these areas.

Submission Deadline: Friday, August 1st, 2014 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time 

Submission Guidelines:

  • Both professional and amateur photography submissions are encouraged
  • Submit up to five (5) images per photographer allowed
  • Selected photographs will be featured in the Sierra Club High Desert Committee’s Wilderness Act
    50th Anniversary Photography Exhibit Event in the fall 2014.
  • Photographers will need to complete a Photographer Permission as part of the submission.
    Download the form here:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5xbJhEjqTTwR1ktTTZudndrV3c/edit?usp=sharing
  • Elements or objects not in original scene should be added.
  • Electronic submissions only, please. E-mail images to hndahlin@mac.com with subject line: HDC 
    WildAct 50th Photo Exhibit Submission 
  • Electronic photograph submission requirements:
    • Photograph must be submitted in JPG format
    • 5 MB at least but no bigger than 10 MB
    • Each photograph must include:
      • Image description
      • Location
      • Photographer name
  • *** 300 dpi format might be requested for selected images. Photographers will be contacted.
  • If submission requirements are not followed, the image submitted may not be considered.
  • Photographs must be taken within areas listed.
  • Any wilderness scene whether wildlife, plants or scenic landscape are eligible.
  • Any watermark must be removed.

Photograph Locations:

Images from Oregon’s wilderness areas that are yet to be protected, with an emphasis on locations listed below will be selected for the exhibit. Photos from high priority areas and locations are preferred but all photos from Oregon’s wilderness areas yet to be protected will be considered.

Current campaigns:

Terms and Conditions (in addition to the Photograph Permission): 

  • Photographs will be accepted only from the original photographer who must be the sole author and owner of the copyright for photos submitted.
  • Selected photographs will be printed only once for the purpose of the exhibit. Use of the printed photographs may be used for future exhibits and fund-raising events by the Sierra Club.

Enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream social and find out if you qualify for a free home energy assessment!

June 27, 2011
Ice Cream and an Energy Audit! Man vs Ice Cream

RSVP Today!

Learn about new financial incentives, available for a limited time, to make qualified homes more energy efficient — with no upfront costs.

While the kids enjoy three-legged races and other classic games, you’ll find out how Sierra Club’s non-profit partner, Clean Energy Works Oregon, cuts through red tape to help homeowners identify, analyze, and finance their energy improvement projects. Complete with fun-filled games for all ages, this is a perfect way to familiarize yourself with affordable ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption in a relaxed setting.

Sierra Club staff, certified contractors, and satisfied CEWO homeowners will be available to answer questions.
.

WHAT:  Home energy efficiency:
new financial incentives and ice cream!
HOW:  Old-fashioned games, brief info session,
Q&A with home energy experts
WHEN: Sunday, July 31
1:00 PM
WHERE: Grant Park picnic pavilion at northeast edge/NE 36th Ave and NE Brazee St
 
Click here to join us!

If you’d like more information about this event, CEWO, or would like to volunteer please contact Benn Davenport: benn.davenport[at]sierraclub[dot]org or 503-238-0442 x307

See you this Sunday at the Park!

Benn Davenport,
Conservation Program Coordinator: Energy Efficient Homes
Sierra Club
(503) 238-0442 x307
.

PS: Do you qualify for a free energy assessment?  Apply at www.CEWO.org and use Sierra Club’s instant rebate code, COHRA012(that’s zero, one, two).  Applying is easy and won’t commit you to the program until you’re ready.Spread the word! Share this event with your friends, family and colleagues! You can also post it to your social networks with these handy links:
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