Executive Director Glenn Lamb shares the many challenges of our Northwest lands and offers an approach to a bold future.
Sometimes my daily journal writing helps me uncover a nagging thought, an uncertainty, or a threat. I don’t like to dwell in fear, but recognizing and understanding it can help me move beyond it.
These days I have one deep and recurring fear. To fully understand, I want you to journey in your mind to one of your favorite Northwest natural places. What does it look like? What do you smell? How does the air feel on your skin? What do you hear? Take a moment and really make it alive.
My fear is that some of my favorite places—like the one you just went to—will be significantly affected by the projected doubling of our population in the coming decades. And that our kids are less connected to nature than ever before. Will we act now to give our kids a rich natural inheritance? And will they care enough about nature in the future to keep protecting it?
These questions can feel especially daunting when our society seems so focused on our differences rather than on what brings us together.
In response, Columbia Land Trust has adopted an approach we call fearless conservation. In our new conservation agenda, we have identified actions to take in the next four years to make sure future generations know, inherit, and steward a Northwest that is thriving, vibrant, and wild. This agenda calls for more of the kind of land conservation we are known for. And it involves understanding that just because we may own the land does not make us right in our interactions with landscapes, creatures, or people. Fearless conservation involves hearing and elevating the voices of people who haven’t typically been at the table. It involves engaging people with nature when they are schoolchildren and throughout their lives.
Now is the time for us to fearlessly meet people we may disagree with, to sit down and find our shared interests. I know nature and people to be amazingly resilient. Some of my favorite Northwest places were fundamentally shaped by fire and flood. And our unique Northwest culture is fundamentally shaped by nature. Our chance to be fearless conservationists is now. Act as if our great places depend on you. Because they do.