A Paradoxical Trip
So, I’m flying today, to help the environment.
I’m on a work trip to lobby in Washington, D.C., meeting with Congressional and Senatorial offices to promote wilderness protections and promote the designation of three new National Monuments. If ever there were a net-benefit reason to put that carbon in the atmosphere, this would be it.
Wild lands are essential for biodiversity, and sequester tremendous volumes of atmospheric carbon when they are managed for thriving ecosystems. My organization, CalWild, is the preeminent voice for protection of wild areas on public lands in the state of California–an internationally-recognized biological diversity hot spot.
California also plays an outsized role in climate policy and biodiversity protection at an international scale. The fourth-largest economy in the world, what California does often lights the way for other states and even other nations. I’ve heard from people who were at the most recent international conference on climate change that the talk there focused on “what is California doing?”
I’m proud of this: proud to be a part of the powerful conservation movement here, and to have helped to build its infrastructure and achieve some of those ground-breaking policy wins. I’m proud now to be a voice from California to Washington, to speak on behalf of the people here who care about the environment and see thriving nature as an important value.
Once, nearly 25 years ago, I went on such a lobbying trip to Washington. I’ve done many of them to Sacramento, the capital of California, and locally. But it’s been long enough since going to the national arena that I feel a little nervous, and honestly, that’s kind of fun.
All of this, of course, is rooted in my Atheopagan values. Reverence for the Earth (Atheopagan Principle 2) is a core perspective that I hold to the core of my being. I chose the career I did as a result of this, and now, late into it, I still feel that passion and commitment.
It brings me pride to be a part of a community that holds the Earth as Sacred. So thank you, for being a part of it.
I’m off to the plane!
I’ve been back for about a week now. DC was a rush of activities and meetings–oh, my aching feet by the time I was done!–and so, so worth it.
Our meetings with Administration officials, Senators’ and Representatives’ offices went really well. I’m hopeful that the policies and wilderness protections we advocated for will advance, and soon.
It’s a little strange to have met with Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office a week before she died. Say what you will about her, Feinstein was responsible for permanently protecting millions of acres of wild lands, and that’s something anyone could be proud of.
I really enjoyed strapping on my armor/suit and being “back in the saddle” in terms of policy advocacy, after several years of not doing much of it. Met a bunch of wonderful people from The Conservation Alliance, relationships that will hopefully grow.
In time not spent in meetings I first got to visit with some local Atheopagans! Here are me and Danford, Rachel and Cheryl in the hotel restaurant.
I also visited the National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of Asian Art, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (the original Wright flyer! The command module from Apollo 11!), and, finally, the National Museum of African-American Culture and History, which was so heartbreaking, infuriating, and inspiring that I think every American should see it.
Here’s our “strike team” in the rotunda of the Hart Congressional Office Building (note smart women who brought comfy shoes for the walks between meetings). I didn’t actually have any meetings in the Capitol (some other teams did), but because the Senate and House buildings are on opposite sides of it, I walks back and forth past it a LOT. Goofy pic included from one of those back-and-forth trips.