News

NEXTers visit with Terry Tempest-Williams

Recently the ConservationNEXT Board of Directors converged on Santa Barbara to gather our thoughts about the next steps for ConservationNEXT.  It was a great meeting of the minds, a wonderful opportunity for planning and provided much needed face time.  That day we outlined a strategic plan and budget for the coming year and each renewed our commitment to this organization.  Ironically and totally coincidentally the inspiration for ConservationNEXT, Terry Tempest-Williams, happened to be on her book tour passing through Santa Barbara on the last night of our meeting.  Our group enjoyed the evening listening to readings from Terry's latest book Finding Beauty in a Broken World and all of the stories that inspired her latest publication.  Terry took the time to talk with our group after the book signing and once again gave motivation and advice to our group.

Global Mala Project 2008

Megan "Megs" Pischke is a sponsored snowboard athlete for Conservation Alliance member company The North Face.  Megs utilizes yoga in focusing for events and balancing life.  We enjoyed this piece about The Global Mala Project; it is a great example of doing something in your own life for something larger than yourself.  Enjoy! 

"The purpose of Global Mala is to unite the global yoga community from every continent, school or approach to form a "mala around the earth" through collective practices based upon the sacred cycle of 108.  Held on Sept.21st and 22nd, the Fall Equinox, this is the yoga world's offering to further the UN International Peace day."
 
In short, it's a beautiful way to connect locally, globally, and spiritually, to support inner peace, and therefore be able to promote peace and help others. I believe it is important to cultivate and let your inner light shine, and therefore, give others permission to do the same.

As part of the Global Mala, each town, city, or community/group offers their form of a Yoga Mala (prayer) according to their yoga tradition and inspiration. Here in Vail, Colorado we (and I say we meaning over 70 participants!!) started off by offering up 108 sun salutations where every 20-25 was led by a different local or visiting yoga teacher. Each instructor provided inspiration for thought and personal prayer, and then offered up everything from local love, to love for other global communities in need, and of course to our beautiful Mother Earth. I have to admit, although I practice yoga often, I thought 108 sun salutations in a row would be trying. On the contrary, I really felt like I could have done 108 more!  I was not only moved emotionally, but empowered by the true spirit and strength of everyone participating that day. I felt a great hope and inspiration for our future of our planet, and all beings that reside here. We then had a beautiful meditation led by Eric, one of our local teachers/students. And to finalize the morning, we were blessed with a special presence. Sri Dandapani, a buddist monk from Kauai, HI. He led us through 108 mantras:

LOKAHA SAMASTA SUKHINO BHAVANTU
May all beings experience the blessing of unconditional happiness!

Namaste to all who helped organize something like this, and most especially my beautiful community of Vail for inspiring me daily!  Namaste to Shiva Rae.  Shiva is a founder of the Global Mala Project, and I am so grateful for all her inspiration and killer dance moves!

Global Mala plants seeds, get out there and participate!!
www.globalmala.org

Our local organization that was represented and supported that day is Bright Future Foundation (www.brightfuturefoundation-ec.org) a group that encourages and supports prevention and intervention of domestic violence.

Thanks for tuning in!
Megs

ConservationNEXT visits the Capital

 

I have to say transitioning from the walls of the Grand Canyon to the walls of the capital is no easy task. In fact my head was spinning a bit as I left a 15 day Grand Canyon trip, made the quick 12 hour drive back to California and hopped on a plane heading to DC. But when I arrived at my hotel which had a direct view to our nation’s capital I knew this was going to be a unique experience.

 

John Sterling, the Executive Director of the Conservation Alliance asked a couple of us NEXTers to join him on a trip to the capital to lobby on behalf on a large package of public lands bills that were making their way through Congress. The bill, S. 3213 Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2008, is comprised of 153 bills (introduced by both Democrats and Republican Senators) affecting special public lands in over 30 states. We, as representatives from the Outdoor Industry, were there to show our representatives that protected public lands and waterways are essential to the health of the outdoor industry. Together, John Sterling from The Conservation Alliance, Brook Shinsky from The North Face, Megan Waterman from Osprey Packs and I, representing The Forest Group met with a variety of senators and congressman expressing to them the importance of wild places.

 

We were joining the efforts of Wilderness Week, a gathering of a variety of environmental advocacy groups who convene in D.C. annually to provide not only support for each other’s efforts but a time to come together under a united mission and speak about the importance of wild places. Since our group has representation from California, Colorado and Oregon we focused our attention on talking to representatives of these three states.

 

Our first day started with an orientation both to the political issues and the act of lobbying. We were greeted by representatives from The Wilderness Society and Campaign for America’s Wilderness. These organizations have quite a bit of representation in Washington and were well versed on the Omnibus Bill, its current state of action, and how best to utilize our efforts. We then had a chance to gather as a group and go over our talking points. Each of us worked on the message we felt both spoke to the issues that were important to us as individual as well as to the companies we represented. We then packed up our bags and headed to the hill.

 

The first day we meet with staff for Senator Barbara Boxer from California, Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama, Senator Gordon Smith from Oregon, Representative John Doolittle from California and Representative John Salazar from Colorado. I was surprised by the positive response we received during each of our meetings.

 

Representative Doolittle was one meeting I was slightly apprehensive going into. I live in Doolittle’s district in California, and to put it nicely we do not see eye to eye on politics. He is currently a lame duck congressman and this will be his last year in office but nonetheless I was not sure how our conversation would go. We met with a young man from his office who was seemingly uninterested when we first started talking about wilderness. However when we explained where we were coming from and the different companies we represented his eyes started to light up. By the end he pulled out his old North Face backpack that he had forever and explained how much he loved his bag. By the end of the conversation he confessed the he never had thought about the economic benefits of wilderness. . . I felt like we left a good impression.

 

To be honest there was a piece of me that felt that lobbying in DC may be overlooked and unappreciated by our government representatives. However, after our first day on the hill I was surprised at how energized I was and how successful I felt our efforts had been. I encourage anyone who has the chance to visit our capital and share your opinion with your representatives to take advantage of the opportunity.

 

Roan Plateau Oil and Gas Development Halted… For Now

 

In April, we sent a grant to the Campaign to Save Roan Plateau to support the group's work to halt proposed oil and gas development on the Roan, a special wild place on Colorado's Western Slope. Last week, we learned from the campaign that they won an eight-month reprieve for the Roan. See below from Colorado Environmental Coalition's Elise Jones: 

"I wanted to share with you the good news that we were able to achieve an eight-month reprieve for the Roan!  The conservation groups like CEC who sued to protect the Roan just reached a big agreement with the oil and gas companies holding the leases:  there will be no drilling or surface disturbing activities allowed on the Roan until next June (at least), in order to allow the court to rule on the merits of our lawsuit (which claims that the BLM's "drill-it-all" plan for the Roan doesn't comply with the law).  In exchange for this protection agreement, we agreed to drop our motion for preliminary injunction, since the agreement gives us what we want.  This is great news, and means that if our lawyers are as good as we think they are, we can still prevail in protecting the Roan!"

Congratulations to the campaign, and stay tuned for future updates!

Vote the Enviroment

Our friends at Patagonia continue to make great strides raising awareness about the importance of voting in the upcoming and all elections. 

There are countless reasons to vote this year.  But with so many polarizing issues in the world, it is easy to overlook the one issue that might seem less important – the health of our natural environment.

Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green or anything in between, help create the change you want to see:

1) Register to vote

2) Get informed

3) Vote the Environment

For more information on the Vote the Environment campaign go to www.votetheenvironment.org.

You can also find Vote the Environment on Facebook.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vote-the-Environment/21893527324

ConservationNEXT featured on SNEWS Live

As a follow up to our successful launch at the Outdoor Retailer Summer 2008 show SNEWS reporter James Mills featured ConservationNEXT on a SNEWS Live podcast.

Take a minute to listen as two of our Board members are interviewed about the past and future of ConservationNEXT. 

CONSERVATION ALLIANCE GIVES $450,000 IN GRANTS TO 17 ORGANIZATIONS

By a vote of the group's 160 member companies, The Conservation Alliance made donations to 17 grassroots conservation organizations. Click here for a full list of the grants.

"The Conservation Alliance wraps up our largest year of funding by supporting another great collection of conservation projects," said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. "We continue to work collectively to save the wild lands and waterways that are so important to the outdoor industry."

This round of grant recipients reflects the geographic distribution of Conservation Alliance members. Conservation Alliance funds will support efforts to: secure new wilderness designations in Alaska, Oregon, California, Utah, and Montana; protect wild rivers in Washington, Utah, and Canada; protect private wildlands in Tennessee, New York, Maine, Oregon, and California; and preserve quiet winter recreation opportunities in Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming.

Each project was first nominated for funding by a Conservation Alliance member company.

This is the second and final grant disbursement The Conservation Alliance has made in 2008.

"In challenging economic times, we met our goal of contributing $900,000 in 2008," said Sterling. "That's a significant investment in protecting our wild places."

Big Public Lands Package Still Alive!

 

Two weeks ago, we posted information about an historic opportunity to protect three million acres of public land, and 1000 miles of rivers in the US. To recap: the Senate is considering a large package of roughly 150 separate bills that would designate new Wilderness areas in Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, and West Virginia. The package would also protect rivers in Oregon and Wyoming, and prohibit new oil and gas development in the Wyoming Range. Click here for a detailed summary.

The status of that legislation — now called Senate Amendment 5662 — has been hard to pin down. We had hoped the Senate would vote on the bill this week, but the economic crisis pushed it aside. New hope for the legislation emerged last night when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on the Senate floor that the Senate will hold a "lame duck" session after the election, the week of November 17. Said Reid, "One thing we are going to move is a lands package."

Though far from a sure thing, this news keeps the package alive. And it keeps alive hopes that we will celebrate a huge conservation victory before the end of the year.

Stay tuned!

 

Think Globally, Act Locally: Black Diamond Supports Utah-based Organizations

Consevation Alliance member Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., a global leader in the climbing and freeride ski markets, announced continued support of local non-profit groups that are active in defending the environment. Black Diamond's efforts include manpower and financial support of Save Our Canyons, Friends of Alta, High Uintas Preservation Council, Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Rivers, SUWA, Utah Nature Conservancy and Summit Land Conservancy.

"On a national scale BD has always been active in partnering with groups such as the Access Fund, American Alpine Club and the Conservation Alliance," explains CEO Peter Metcalf. "For the past few years we have deepened our financial backing to diverse local groups with a common mission – that of championing and protecting access and preservation of wild lands. This is key for BD as we want to drive tangible impact on our immediate recreational areas."

It's always great to see our members steppin up on the local level!

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