This year, with clear evidence that the Trump Administration is jeopardizing many U.S. environmental conservation and protection programs and policies, with hugely damaging consequences, Gary E. Machlis, former National Park Service science advisor (and Clemson University professor of environmental sustainability), and Jonathan B. Jarvis, retired NPS career professional and national director from 2009 to 2017, co-authored an important and inspirational book. The Future of Conservation in America: a Chart for Rough Water (University of Chicago Press) asserts that we are in a period of “rough water,” affecting many environmental assets and conservation programs. The authors identify three major environmental and social threats (and the dangerous irresponsibility of denying them) confronting America: climate change, species extinction, and economic inequality. Actions are required to navigate through the very rough waters facing us. It is essential to assure that the conservation movement is understood by Americans (and especially by young people) as critically relevant to public health and interest. A general re-commitment to environmental conservation and protection is necessary. <<continued>>
With ecological systems being altered and assaulted at unprecedented scale and rate, it is time to increase our focus on ecological restoration and renewal. Our fragile ecological systems in the southern U.S. and across the entire Earth are damaged and imperiled. Preservation and conservation are not enough; we need to work more intensively to restore abused ecological systems and natural habitats.
In an essay by conservation biologist and Aldo Leopold biographer Curt Meine, re-published in the summer 2018 issue of The Leopold Outlook, the author reminds us that the relationship between humans and the world is reciprocal. “As we work to heal the Earth, the Earth heals us.”
Meine recalls that Aldo Leopold, the father of wildlife conservation in America and pioneering figure in ecological restoration in the 1930s and 40s, noted that “Conservation, viewed in its entirety, is the slow and laborious unfolding of a new relationship between people and land.” Meine observes, “Conservation has evolved continually over the last century in response to the complex realities of social and environmental change. . . . Now, however, conservation finds itself caught in an intense and persistent vortex. Much of the debate involves our understanding of ecosystem change, the human role in affecting those changes, and the perils and potential of new technologies to respond to change.” <<Continued>>
--by Chuck Roe
Private land trusts are on the front lines in defending and advocating for the protection of the most extraordinary natural areas and ecological treasures in the southern U.S. Beyond landowners, no one is more important than private land trusts and conservancies in safeguarding our natural heritage.
I compose this essay in reaction to reading the recently adopted Land Trust Alliance (LTA) Strategic Plan for 2018-22. That plan and its proposed action steps are meritorious, ambitious, and logical in progressive evolution from the national association’s previous strategic plan. But I see a glaring omission in the LTA Plan’s introductory statement of purpose for the land trusts of America . . . >Read more HERE.
Against a backdrop of mutual challenges in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary from climate change and budget shortfalls, an updated partnership between Virginia and North Carolina is starting to flex its collaborative muscle with important border-blind issues: wetlands, algal blooms, and fish travel. A memorandum of understanding signed late last year paves the way. This article by Catherine Kozak from the Coastal Review Online tells the story . . . READ HERE.
--by Brenda Barrett
On October 23, 2017 conservationists gathered at National Geographic headquarters for an event called "Half Earth Day." Held six months after Earth Day, the "half"-themed event highlighted renowned biologist, naturalist, and author E.O. Wilson's big idea that fully half the planet must be declared protected marine and land habitats in order to save 80 percent of the world's species. This is landscape scale conservation at its most ambitious -- at the planetary level. READ MORE.
--by Bobby Whitescarver. Note: A different version of this essay was published as an OPED piece distributed by the Bay Journal News Service on October 17, 2017. Read that article here.
The Clean Water Act is now 45 years old, born in the U.S. Congress on October 18, 1972. Sometime before that date, the river of my childhood – the Roanoke River in southwestern Virginia – had been declared a fire hazard because of pollution.
I learned to water-ski on that river, or rather on one of the manmade lakes along its winding path. It was 1965 and I remember one of those skiing lessons in particular. Dad was the spotter, and his friend George was the driver. I jumped in the water and waited for the handles of the ski rope. When the tips of my skis were up and my butt down, I yelled, “forward!” As the boat began pulling me, I saw banana peels and “floaters” – human waste – drifting past. I was ten years old, and it gave me the heebie-jeebies. “Hit it,” I shouted, now doubly motivated to get up and out of the water.
America now has perhaps the best wastewater treatment in the world. . . .
"Conservation, viewed in its entirety, is the slow and laborious unfolding of a new relationship between people and land."
"There is in fact no distinction between the fate of the land and the fate of the people. When one is abused, the other suffers."
From the President
SCP President Chuck Roe looked at land conservation along the route of John Muir's "Southern Trek."
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