A lot of people have asked me for details on both Barack Obama and John McCain's positions on the environment. In an election year, it can be difficult to get a straight answer on anything. In my fairly limited experience, an Administration's impact on the environment and our public lands is largely determined by the people the President appoints to key positions at EPA, Interior, and the land management agencies (BLM, Forest Service, Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service). It's too early to tell who these appointees might be, but Greenwire recently published a good account of who is advising the respective campaigns on environmental issues. Check it out.
Rod Bien, owner of Pandora's Backpack, a retail store in Bend, OR, and Conservation Alliance member company, joined other business leaders in Bend to talk about the economic benefits of Wilderness designation for the Badlands. The Badlands is a 30,000-acre wildland near Bend that Alliance grantee Oregon Natural Desert Association is working to protect. Nice work, Rod! Check it out:
Twelve outdoor industry companies have joined The Conservation Alliance since the January OR Show. With a steady increase in membership, the Alliance now boasts 160 companies.
The new members are: Backcountry.com; Chuckanut 50K Race; earcomm; Eco-X, Inc.; Headsweats; Hotwax Media; Naukabout; Quick Feat International; Repreve by Unifi; Schoeller Textil, USA; Solstice; and The Active Marketing Group.
Each company joins at a time when the Conservation Alliance is focused on recruiting as many industry companies as possible. Each member company pays annual dues into a central fund, and the Alliance donates those funds to grassroots conservation organizations. The Alliance is on track to donate $900,000 in 2008.
"Threats to our wild places continue to grow," said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. "It's great to see outdoor businesses stepping up to support the conservation efforts that are important to our industry."
Building on a partnership launched in 2005, KEEN Footwear will match the first year's dues of any company that joins the Conservation Alliance in 2008. With the new additions, KEEN has thus far matched $403,900 in new member dues since June, 2005.
New members include manufacturers, retailers, factories, mills, endurance races, and public affairs agencies.
"Our community of conservation-minded companies continues to grow," said Sterling. "Together, we will save the wild places so important to outdoor customers."
The Conservation Alliance is psyched about a promotion we are doing with Timex called "Return to the Outdoors". Timex has produced three short films that profile well-know outdoor folks talking about the places that are special to them. The first two films feature Conservation Alliance board member Conrad Anker and rockclimber Steph Davis. The most recent profiles Alliance co-founder and Patagonia owner Yvon Chouinard. Check it out!
Our friends at the Campaign for America's Wilderness distribute an excellent monthly update on efforts to secure new Wilderness designations on public lands throughout the US. The Conservation Alliance has supported many grassroots organizations working at the local level to win these important protections, which safeguard our public lands from logging, mining, oil and gas development, and motorized vehicle use. The US Senate is currently considering a package of public lands legislation that would protect more than 1 million acres of land and 1000 miles of rivers. For a quick update, check out:
WaterWatch, a recent Conservation Alliance grantee, has been working collaboratively with local, state and federal officials to restore the Rogue River — one of Oregon's premiere whitewater and salmon/steelhead streams — by removing four dams on the stream. The first of those dams — the Elk Creek Diversion — was removed on July 16. Check out the video at:
Thanks to everyone who helped launch ConservationNEXT at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake last weekend. The party was a hoot, and it was great to see so much interest in building an online social network focused on grassroots conservation work.
The ConservationNEXT site will continue to evolve. We now have more than 100 NEXTers, and expect many more once people return from the trade show. Our grantees are regularly posting project updates and action alerts to keep you all informed and active in their conservation work. We challenge everyone to respond to at least one action alert per week. Better yet, make a commitment to respond to every action alert posted on the site.
We will use this blog to post basic information and commentary about pressing conservation issues. There's a lot going on out there, and we plan to be a one-stop information source for you all.
In the coming weeks we will add features to the site that will allow NEXTers to communicate with each other through the site. We'll also post the photos we took at the launch event. So please stay tuned and stay active!
Over the past several years, The Conservation Alliance has made a conscious effort to support campaigns to secure new Wilderness designations on public lands throughout the US. Many of these campaigns are now in legislative form, and moving through Congress. Click here for an update on this package of public lands bills.
Welcome to ConservationNEXT! As a collective we have been working together for over a year to bring you ConservationNEXT.com. So surf the site, make us your friends, invite your other friends from the real and virtual worlds, and share your thoughts and ideas with us and with the rest of the ConservationNEXT community.
Non-profit organizations funded by Conservation Alliance grants have helped populate this site so that you can get involved in their grassroots work. Endorse your favorites so that you’ll be updated on their action alerts, and visit often to learn about more non-profit partners. Join our community, connect with friends, and share your thoughts on conservation and places you care about.
This site will grow and evolve, adding more functionality and creating even more opportunities to connect with each other and with volunteer opportunities. Get involved, and help us make this the social networking site of the conservation minded.
– ConservationNEXT Board,
Liz, Brook, Berne, Deanna & Krissy