Tom Hayden – Civil Rights Activist and Civic Leader 1939 – 2016

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Tom Hayden, author, journalist, activist and politician died October 23, 2016 at age 76. He was the director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center. Tom was a man deeply committed to democracy and understood it intimately as both an activist and a legislator. His knowledge and insight from his activist struggles provided insight and experience to be an effective legislator. He served California in both the Assembly and the state Senate.

Hayden became a cultural icon in the 1960’s when he and his then wife, Jane Fonda, visibly and vocally demonstrated against the Vietnam War. He believed that the war was the “slaughter of distant people.” In 1965 he traveled with an antiwar group to Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam. The 10-day trip offended many in the U.S. and the State Department temporarily withdrew Hayden’s passport.

Tom returned to Vietnam again in 1967 and this time was successful in helping with the release of three American prisoners of war. Hayden met them on the airport tarmac and they boarded a Czechoslovakian plane bound for Beirut. He accompanied the servicemen to the U.S. Embassy. In the 1980s one of these POWs supported him against Republican’s wanting to oust him from office for what they called “treason” during the war.

In the sixties, Tom Hayden was instrumental in forming an organization called Students for a Democratic Society (SDS, 1961). Hayden drafted what became known as the Port Huron Statement (1962), the SDS’s manifesto, while he was in jail in Georgia for Civil Rights activism. This 25,000-word document was a call to action for people to participate in our democracy.

In 1968 he was one of seven individuals that became known of the “Chicago 7”. These seven were indicted for conspiracy to incite a riot at the Democratic National Convention. Hayden was convicted of traveling across state lines to incite a riot and sentenced to five years in prison. The conviction was overturned on appeal, largely because the judge had sided openly with prosecutors. The government declined to retry Hayden.

Tom was often among slews of protesters perpetrating disorder ranging from disrupting the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange to the destruction of the Clocks at Grand Central Terminal, the main commuter station for workers in New York City. He is

Hayden was a champion for the environment. He backed scores of liberal candidates and ballot measures in the 1970s and ‘80s, most notably Proposition 65, the anti-toxics measure that requires signs in gas stations, bars and grocery stores that warn of cancer-causing chemicals. He also spent several years organizing poor black residents to take on slumlords, city inspectors and others. He was under FBI surveillance for a large portion of his life.

Inspired by sociologist C. Wright Mills and French author Albert Camus, among others, Hayden and his fellow students bemoaned poverty, racial bigotry, the Democratic Party’s tolerance of Southern segregationists, the threat of nuclear war and an apathetic citizenry. They called for mobilizing students and like-minded Americans through “participatory democracy.” “If we appear to seek the unattainable, as it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable,” the statement concluded.

Tom felt that he could really make a difference if he were to work in the state legislature. In 1982, Tom was elected to the state Assembly. Hayden served a total of 18 years in the Assembly and state Senate representing the people of California. He supported what he called “participatory democracy.”

A prolific author and editor (19 books), Hayden wrote books on Cuba, Ireland, Vietnam, street gangs, spirituality and environmental protection, the Iraq war and the Newark riots. His next book, “Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement,” is scheduled to be published in March 2017 by Yale University Press.

Hayden is survived by his wife, Barbara Williams, an actress and singer; their adopted son, Liam; Troy Garity, his son with Fonda; and his sister, Mary Hayden Frey. He is also survived by stepdaughter Vanessa Vadim and her two children.

In honor of Tom and his dedication to participatory democracy, I hope that each of you will take the time to vote on Tuesday November 8 for this most important Presidential election.

If you would like to learn more about Tom Hayden, here are some resources:

Tom Hayden Forces of Nature Video – Navigating toward Unity

Tom on the meaning of citizenship (video):

 

 

Update! The Forces of Nature are Making a Difference in Our World

The wise Forces of Nature elders demonstrate how to live a meaningful life by helping others and protecting life on earth. They don’t sit idle and worry about local and global problems, they get out and make a difference. These elders work to protect trees, water, and wildlife habitat. They bring awareness of climate change and ideas of human resilience to climate change, and are active forces in social justice and civil rights. Here are updates on six of our “Forces” (please be sure to click on the blue links for more information):

Joan Maloof, Building Old Growth Forest Networks

Joan Maloof founded the Old-Growth Forest Network after completing work on her second book, Among the Ancients: Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests, in which she visited one old-growth forest in each of 26 Eastern states and learned that there is no national organization or government agency charged with protecting the few remaining old-growth tracts, and that there was little information available on how people can visit old-growth forests near them.

700-joan-maloofSo far, her organization has identified and helped preserve 41 forests in 13 states. Three new West Virginia tracts now included in the Old-Growth Forest Network are 30-acre Pierson Hollow at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park in Nicholas County where 250- to 300-year-old oaks, yellow poplars and hemlocks can be found; Cathedral State Park in Preston County, where virgin hemlock reaching heights of 90 feet and circumferences of up to 21 feet exist in a 133-acre stand; and Gaudineer Scenic Area in the Monongahela National Forest in Pocahontas County, where a 50-acre tract of virgin red spruce forest exists atop a 4,000-foot mountain. Dr. Victor Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve is a 292-acre complex of forest, ponds and wetlands in Cheektowaga New York which was recently protected by the Network.

States that already have forests in the Network include New York, Massachusetts, California, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Virginia and Florida.

The Oak Woodlands Natural Area in Golden Gate Park received a special designation on March 14, 2015, as it was officially included into the Old-Growth Forest Network. The Oak Woodlands Natural Area will join previously dedicated forests in California in the Old-Growth Forest Network.  9103dbcb-18fa-494b-b8aa-f88e52c4520d                                                                                                  The California representatives thus far are:

  • Humboldt County: Rockefeller Forest – Humboldt Redwoods State Park
  • Monterey County: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  • Riverside County: Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness – Deer Springs Trail
  • San Diego County: Palomar Mountain State Park
  • San Mateo County: Sam McDonald County Park – Heritage Grove

“We’re trying to identify old-growth forests in every county of every state,” Joan Maloof said before a recent dedication ceremony. In the Eastern United States, many counties have no remaining old-growth forests, and Joan and her Network are leading the statewide search for remnant stands of virgin woods.

Old-Growth Network forests are identified by using data from an old-growth survey of Eastern forests begun in the 1990s, and by following up on anecdotal reports of virgin-forest remnants on public land by government foresters, botanists, ecologists and biologists, and public land users.

“We are looking for forests on public lands where they will be protected and where people are welcome to visit and honor them,” Maloof said. “This forest is managed by the National Park Service, so we know it will be protected for many generations to come.”

Joan, a retired professor of biology and environmental studies at Maryland’s Salisbury University, educates people about the significant role that trees play in natural habitats, as well as how the delicacy of ecosystems depends on the ecological and structural attributes of trees, which can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, intercept rainwater and slow erosion. She points to an alarming statistic that indicates that only one percent of our original forests remain intact in the eastern U.S., compared to just five percent in the western U.S. As more forests are logged for fiber production or transformed for cattle ranching, the natural heritage represented by our forests becomes increasingly diminished.

“So often when they’re going to put in something new, whether it’s a highway or a school – they look at the map and see green space as ‘empty.’ We’re here to say, “That green space is very important – than anything you can build on it,’” she said. “When we’re gone in a hundred years, where’s the community that makes sure that this forest stays? We’re hoping that the Old-Growth Forest Network will still be going in order to preserve these special places.”

For more information on the Old-Growth Forest Network, visit www.oldgrowthforest.net. To watch RRI’s video of Joan Maloof, click on her name in this sentence. If you would like to follow Joan, she writes a blog, “For the Earth.”

Malcolm Margolin, Master Storyteller and Publisher of California History

Malcom-Margolin-square1No one has impacted the storied history of Bay Area publishing more than Malcolm Margolin, publisher of Heyday Books, which celebrated its 41th anniversary this year. Heyday Books, founded by Malcolm, is an icon of alternative publishing, with hundreds of titles focusing on Native Americans, nature, politics and more. National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jim Leach awarded Malcolm a Chairman’s Commendation and called him a “national treasure” for his “extraordinary contributions to his community by telling the story of California’s people and its resources with vision, commitment, and passion” (2012).

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Malcolm has recently published his memoir entitled: The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin: The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher. There is an excellent review of the book by the Los Angeles Review of Books.

In more recent news, Malcolm has announced that he is retiring from Heyday Books. What a fantastic legacy of California history he has uncovered and documented!  We will forever cherish his delightful stories! We wish Malcolm all the best!        

Andy Lipkis, Fighting the California Drought with Action

Andy Lipkis is a practical visionary who has dedicated his life to healing the environment while improving the lives of individuals and communities. He founded TreePeople in Los Angeles in 1973 at age 18 and continues to serve as its President. Since 1973 Andy has been teaching people to plant and care for trees and educates people about the properties that trees provide in protecting water resources, among other things.

In an interesting article about the Jewish holiday, Sukkot, which is a holiday that is agricultural in nature and marks the end of the harvest, we learn that Andy has created his own way of celebrating the holiday to stave off the effects of the severe drought in Southern California.

If you are not familiar with the Jewish holiday, Sukkot is an eight-day holiday. Throughout the week of Sukkot, meals are eaten in a sukkah (outdoor structure, pictured below) and the males sleep there, although the requirement is waived in case of rain. The sukkah is built before the holidays and disassembled afterwards. Every day, a blessing is recited over the lulav (frond of the date palm tree) and the Etrog (citron fruit).

sukkahThe sukkah walls can be constructed of any material (wood, canvas, aluminum siding, sheets). The walls can be freestanding or include the sides of a building or porch. The roof must be of organic material, known as s’chach, such as leafy tree overgrowth, schach mats or palm fronds. It is customary to decorate the interior of the sukkah with hanging decorations of special fruits and fronds.

Andy-Lipkis_cisternThis year, Andy, concerned about the severe California drought and its affect on agriculture, decided to forego building a sukkah and instead is helping others to build cisterns that will capture rain water that can be used for plant watering. If you would like to read the article, you will find the link here. TreePeople have also put together a guidance document for collecting rainwater and can be accessed here. To Andy, and all that celebrate the Jewish holidays, I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year, and one that includes rain!

Reverend Canon Sally Bingham had an Audience with Pope Francis at the White House

images-1The Reverend Canon Sally Grover Bingham, an Episcopal priest and Canon for the Environment in the Diocese of California has been active in the environmental community for twenty-five years. She is the founder and president of The Regeneration Project, which is focused on its Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) campaign, a religious response to global warming. The IPL campaign includes a national network of over 14,000 congregations with affiliated programs in 39 states.

Reverend Canon Sally Bingham has brought widespread recognition to the link between faith and the environment, and as one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize global warming as a moral issue, she has mobilized thousands of religious people to put their faith into action through energy stewardship and advocacy. Reverend Canon Sally was part of the religious delegation that greeted Pope Francis at the White House on September 22 and believes that the Pope’s influence will raise the profile of the moral impetus for climate action.

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“The encyclical will affect business people because business people are often tied to religious traditions,” Bingham said  “If they are hearing their clergy — their priest, rabbi, imam — talk about moral responsibility from the pulpit, it is going to have an impact on them.”

We thank Reverend Sally for your deep passion and initiative in bringing awareness of climate change to faith-based groups!

Jodi Evans, Empowering for Peace and Civil Rights 

Code Pink: Women for Peace is a left-wing NGO that describes itself as a “grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.” It is primarily focused on anti-war issues, but has also taken positions on gun control, social justice, Palestinian statehood, green jobs and health care issues. The organization characterizes itself as women-initiated. It has regional offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, D.C., and many more chapters in the U.S. as well as several in other countries. With members wearing the group’s signature pink color, Code Pink has conducted marches, protests, and high-visibility publicity stunts in order to promote its goals.

Bolivian President Evo Morales invited Jody Evans, one of the founders of the activist group Code Pink, to an audience with Pope Francis. Evans couldn’t go, so she sent Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez in her place. Mr. Sousa-Rodriguez is both gay and, until recently, undocumented. This meeting with the Pope was another bit of info he received that may have framed Pope Francis’ recent remarks to Congress this September. We have linked a good read about Mr. Sousa-Rodrigues in the Daily Beast. Read this if you are interested in the activities of Code Pink or support gay and immigrant rights.

imagesJody and Code Pink have been fighting to empower women and girls in Afghanistan and against the cruelty directed towards women. Alternet.org has written an article about the plight of Afghan women and highlights stories of Muzgan, Tamana and Farkhunda. Here is an excerpt from the article, which can be accessed with this Huffington Post link:

Discussing the merits of the war is often framed within the context of toppling the brutal Taliban and freeing the country’s women. Barometers of this success include women officially regaining basic rights in education, employment and voting. CODEPINK has estimated that between 2003 and 2013, at least $1.5 billion was allocated  by the U.S. government’s various agencies for Afghan women and girls. This compares to the more than $1 trillion spent on the war in total, most of which went to the U.S. military and training of Afghanistan’s defense forces. Reconstruction projects claimed at least $110 billion.

 

But have the lives of Afghan women really improved? “After all these efforts, the huge amount of money spent, the creation of women’s organizations, the so-called community-level support, we are in a situation where most women still don’t know their basic rights,” said Samira Hamidi, “The help for women has been in the bigger cities, where there are fewer cultural barriers. In rural areas, nothing has changed. Women are still imprisoned in their homes,” Hamidi said by telephone from Kabul.

 

Despite spending at least $1.5 billion on empowering Afghan women, the country is still viewed as one of the worst in the world for women. According to the U.N., only 17 percent of Afghan women can read and write; access to health care is limited, and almost impossible in remote areas; and domestic violence is rife, with limited chances for recourse or legal protection.

Jody and Code Pink – Thank you for your efforts in promoting peace and social justice!

To our readers: Please feel free to comment on our website, our blogs, or ask questions. We welcome donations of any kind to support our project. Contact us at rriforces@gmail.com.

 

In Memory of William “Zeke” Grader (1947–2015)

Zeke Grader

A passionate champion for fish, fishermen and sustainable ocean management has died. Zeke Grader was a trailblazer and he devoted his life to protecting fish for fisherman and consumers mostly by creating sustainable fishing laws and policies that protected the health of our oceans, waterways, and aquaculture operations. Influenced by his father who served as undersecretary of the California Resources Agency, Zeke was drawn to law and environmental policy, but found that his heart was with the plight of fishermen. He founded the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Association and was its president for 39 years.

Despite his close association with fishermen, Zeke courageously challenged the popular approach of overfishing for more sustainable policies. He tirelessly fought to promote policies to protect and sustain ocean resources with legislation that included unpopular fishing bans and catch limits, but in the long run, improved ocean fisheries. “He was one of a kind,” said Chuck Wise, a retired Bodega Bay fisherman and former president of the federation, an umbrella group for commercial fishermen’s associations from San Diego to Alaska. Without the environmental protections Grader fought to secure, the fishing industry “would probably be kaput,” Wise said.

A lawyer, lobbyist and former Marine Corps reservist, Grader was instrumental in helping adopt laws to protect California salmon and its food source – krill. “Zeke was for decades a tireless fish warrior,” said William Stelle Jr., West Coast regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service. “Tough as nails, blunt spoken and full of life, he leaves us better, stronger and in a changed place because of his accomplishments.”

Grader’s master stroke, friends said, lay in forging an alliance between environmentalists, a generally urban group, and blue-collar fishermen, two forces that were at odds in the 1960s and ’70s as the California salmon population was in decline and fishermen were widely blamed for hooking too many of them.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, said Grader was among the plaintiffs in a case filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and initially handled by Huffman, charging the federal government with operating a dam that dried up miles of the San Joaquin River in the Central Valley. A settlement in 2006 included an agreement to restore a 153-mile stretch of the river.

These are but a few of Zeke’s accomplishments and without him our California Pacific coast fisheries would be severely depleted or collapsed. We tip our caps to Zeke and mourn the loss of an important conservationist and protector of fishery resources.

The Resource Renewal Institute has produced two videos from Huey Johnson’s interview with Zeke. One is titled “The Truth on Aquaculture” and the other is “Bridging the Communal Divide”. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch these short videos.

Remembering Bill Kortum: Legendary Civic Leader in Sonoma County

Bill Kortum

Bill Kortum 1927-2014

On December 19th 2014, Bill Kortum passed away and left a big hole in our hearts. He was a kind, spirited and gentle soul who loved Sonoma County and the California coast and he dedicated his life to protecting them. He left behind a legacy of coastal access for all Californians. The Resource Renewal Institute offers our deepest condolences to his wife, Lucy and his family.

Born and raised in Sonoma County, Bill followed his dreams and became a veterinarian serving the rural communities in Sonoma County where he fell in love with the animals and the landscape.

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Hole in the Head, Bodega Head CA

We will remember him for his civic activism: rallying an epic fight in the early 1960s against a proposed nuclear power plant at Bodega Head. Even before it was approved, the Pacific Gas & Electric developers had started excavating the foundation for the plant. This aggressive action only empowered Bill and his allies to fight harder against siting a nuclear plant in this sensitive location. In the end, Bill and the band of citizens proved that the site was inappropriate for siting a nuclear power plant on the active San Andreas earthquake fault. The site of this excavation is now preserved as “The Hole in the Head” and anyone can visit.

Bill is gratefully remembered for leading the battle for California coastal access initiative (Proposition 20) in 1972. This effort later led to the development of the Calievent_236938462fornia Coastal Commission, a body that oversees all development along the California coast and ensures that public access to the coast is maintained. Without Bill, this may not have happened. Imagine, what our coast would look like today?

Bill’s activism taught us about the effectiveness of public outreach and exemplifies the hard work that is required to stand up for one’s beliefs and ideals. His campaigns were door-to-door, petitions, flyers and meetings and being active in local and statewide politics. Today, we just post something on social media where people sitting at home can sign online petitions. Bill did his work personally and he became an icon in Sonoma County. He connected with people, made friends, gave back, and continued his environmental work late into his 80s. Bill founded the nonprofit organization, Coastwalk, in Sonoma County.

In our “Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak” interview with Bill, he shares stories about his activism, his love of Sonoma County and the California Coast, and how he got started with his activism. Our 5 minute video, “Leadership” can be seen by clicking here.

imagesGratefully, the Kortum trail was dedicated and a place that Bill could appreciate while he was alive. The Kortum trail is located in Northern California on the Sonoma Coast and begins at Wrights Beach and ends at Blind Beach. If anyone deserves a coastal trail, Bill earned this honor.

I last saw Bill in November 2013 when he came to a fundraiser at the Resource Renewal Institute. The following day was sunny and beautiful so my husband images-1and I decided to drive out to the coast. Having no destination in mind, we just parked the car on one of the coastal turnouts and got out. Surprisingly, we found ourselves at the Kortum trailhead! The trail and beach below felt magical that day and we enjoyed the hike immensely. We hiked down to the beach and there I recorded the sounds of the waves. I would like to share that recording with you. In honor of Bill, let’s take a minute of silence to listen to the ocean.  (Note: I’m sorry, but my technical skills with WordPress does not allow me to attach the file at this time). I hope that you will take a trip to the beach and have a moment of silence anyway.

 

Remembering Martin Litton: Rabble-rousing Environmentalist

“You don’t have to be brave to stand alone, you just have to be ornery!”  

Martin Litton

Martin Litton passed away November 30th, 2014 at the age of 97. Martin was an unapologetic rebel — a cantankerous rabble-rouser and eco-warrior for the past seventy years. He was at the center of several important environmental battles of the 20th Century, including the Grand Canyon, Mono Lake, Dinosaur National Monument, and the creation of Redwood National Park in Northern California. He was 95 at the time of our interview and showed no signs of quieting down about the state of our environment.

Since childhood, Mr. Litton has been outspoken about the environment. He never feared speaking truth to power. When he saw something wrong he acted to correct it. At age 18 he wrote his first letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times denouncing the degredation of Mono Lake, whose water was siphoned to the expanding Los Angeles basin. He then worked for the LA Times after returning home from the war, where he was a glider pilot flying sorties over Europe.

Litton was closely affiliated with the Sierra Club for more than 60 years. He served on the Sierra Club Board of Directors from 1964-1972. He led numerous environmental charges and is the author of The Life and Death of Lake Mead. He is known for resisting and stopping proposed dams on the Colorado River as well as fighting the U.S. Forest Service over logging public treasures like California’s giant Sequoia forests. Martin was also a major force in establishing the Redwood National Park and as a writer he often used direct experience and nature photography to inspire others to act.

Martin Litton was well known for his outfitting business, Grand Canyon Dories, which provided his livelihood for 20 years. As a 92 year-old, Martin broke the record of being the oldest person to run the Grand Canyon in a dory. At the time of his death he was president at Sequoia ForestKeeper, an organization he founded. Martin was truly one of a kind and will be missed by the environmental community.

Additional links:

National Geographic

Los Angeles Times

NPR

Video – They Don’t Make ’em Like This Anymore.

 

The Forces of Nature Celebrates the Wilderness Act’s 50th Anniversary

Each of us has our own perspective about wilderness. This quote by Wallace Stegner stands out as I consider the magnificence of wilderness and what it means to me.  

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence . . .”                                                                                     Wallace Stegner, The Sound of Mountain Water 

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This month we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, a law that protects significant wilderness areas in more than 44 states. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed The Wilderness Act on September 3rd, 1964. The first designated wilderness areas comprised a total of 9.1 million acres of untrammeled forest to be forever protected from the encroachment of human impact and exploitation. Over the past 50 years, the Wilderness Act has enabled congress to designate close to 110 million acres of federal wildlands as wilderness. Ever since, each president has added additional priceless resources to our collection. These pristine lands are set aside to restrict human habitation, roads, mining, logging, off-road vehicles, and other development to protect our nation’s wildlife and natural resources for future generations.

Whirlpool_CanyonThe Wilderness Act was one of the leading legislative acts that kick-started an important environmental era in the mid-20th century. The 1950s and ‘60s were a time of great excitement and interest in the environment. It was a time when major developments such as affordable automobiles and new highways made our world smaller and more mobile. There were more opportunities to experience the magnificent beauty of landscapes and places. This was a time when an important new field of study was created, called ecology, a branch of biology that studies the relationships among all organisms on earth. Our once remote National Parks became wonderful vacation spots for families who could experience the silence and splendor of the natural world.

Individuals such as David Brower, and later, Yvon Chouinard, were young mountaineers that have expressed their love of wilderness in very different, but significant ways. As a young lad, David Brower fell in love with the land and hiked with his family. free-climber-yosemite_35063_990x742Since his mother was blind, young David became adept at describing virtually everything he saw on his hikes. Years later he became the executive director the Sierra Club, a small environmental organization with only 7,000 members, but it soon became an organization known for its ability to mobilize its members to fight large dams in the United States. Under Brower’s leadership Sierra Club membership grew to 70,000 members in 1969. Today the organization has grown to 750,000 members. David Brower (1912-2000) was a force of nature. He imbued intelligence, passion and a trailblazing energy. Brower’s messages were ahead of his time, yet right in time. In his 1959 book, The Meaning of Wilderness to Science. Brower said:

“Wilderness. The most important source of the vital organic forms constituting the chain of life is the gene bank that exists in wilderness, where the life force has gone on since the beginning, uninterrupted by man and his technology. For this reason alone, it is important that the remnants of wilderness which we still have on our public lands be preserved by the best methods our form of government can find.”

In the 1970s, Yvon Chouinard, a young mountain climber was seeking every opportunity to do what he loved best — climb to the top of remote mountain peaks or catching a wave on his surfboard.  Yvon, a resourceful and creative man was also curious and talented. It wasn’t long until he started crafting his own climbing tools and clothing. Other climbers soon noticed and coveted his creations. The climbing community encouraged him to make and sell some of his o5427078006_d679efbc9f_zutdoor gear. Since it would be something Yvon would enjoy doing, he started an outdoor clothing company called Patagonia. It is known for its progressive approach to sustainability. Yvon tells his story about Patagonia’s beginnings and why corporate and individual responsibility is our best solution to some of our environmental problems. Yvon’s video is: Be the Solution.

In another video, Oceans as Wilderness, Yvon Chouinard describes how treating our oceans as we might treat wilderness could be a starting point that might help save the oceans. Yvon says in his book, Let My People Go Surfing:   feather-stars-australia_74631_990x742

“We need to protect these areas of unaltered wildness and diversity to have a baseline, so we never forget what the real world is like – in perfect balance, the way nature intended the earth to be. This is the model we need to keep in mind on our way toward sustainability.” 

Ocean steward, Edward Ueber, is a former National Marine Sanctuary Manager. He refers to our earth as “planet water” because our planet is mostly covered by ocean water.

humpback-whales-macdonald_3691_990x742Ed Ueber’s video The Planet Water tells why this distinction is important.

Additionally, scientist John McCosker, chair of aquatic biology at the California Academy of Sciences speaks about the future of our oceans in his Forces of Nature video, Ocean Alert.

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We all know that our oceans are being desecrated through overfishing, climate change, pollution and neglect. Marine toxicologist, Riki Ott shares how she was involved in the clean up of the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.  If we do not protect our waters here on earth, what is our future? Pondering this information raises the question of: How will we care for our water planet?

 

gc_ad_1966-1In 1966, the Sierra Club, led by David Brower, began to use ad campaigns as a tool to save important areas. Brower, along with Jerry Mander, and Sierra Club leaders would draft ads that would later become known as the “Grand Canyon Battle Ads.” These were a series of ads that were placed in several major newspapers at a time to gain awareness of the threats to the Grand Canyon and other untainted landscapes. Jerry Mander talks about one of these ads. The ad that he developed for the Grand Canyon and the unexpected outcome of placing that ad, in Using ‘Bad’ Tactics for Good. This is a short and interesting story about Brower’s legacy at the Sierra Club.

In Brower’s 1966 letter: Open Letter to President Johnson he urged him to to save the magnificent forests of virgin redwood trees in northern California. In 1968, Redwood National Park was finally established as a National Park.

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Conservationist Connie Harvey recounts her story about working with Brower and how she helped the Sierra Club to save Redwood National Park, in Protecting the Sacred. Another story told by the former Forest Service director, Jack Ward Thomas, shares about the threats and the fight over the endangered Northern spotted owls that live in these old growth forests. His video is For the Love of Public Land.

mendenhall-glacier-851026-mFormer Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus was an important supporter of wilderness. He was responsible for several major pieces of legislation and launched the bill for the 1980 Alaska Lands Act, which protected over one hundred million acres and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which kept several rivers undammed across the country.  He was responsible for listing several Snake River (Wyoming) salmon species under the Endangered Species Act, this led to changes in operations of the dams that prevented the salmon from returning to their home rivers to spawn. frank_church_sign  Governor Cecil Andrus, who served 14 years, was integral in setting aside land in Idaho, which became the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area.  In his memoir, Cecil used a quote from Robert Frost:

“We should not have to care so much, you and I.” “But we do care,” Andrus continues, “and we should. We care about the future … I remain hopeful that I will be able to pass on to my grandchildren all the pleasures of life in an unspoiled West. Perhaps hope should be replaced by a stronger word. It is a matter of obligation.”

Another big supporter of Alaska wilderness is Bart Koehler. 14880481813_2b796feed0_z In his career he has served a leading role in the lasting protection of more than 8 million acres of wild places including recent successes in Nevada, Montana, Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont, South Dakota, Puerto Rico, and Oregon. Bart started his career at The Wilderness Society then co-founded Earth First! Bart is an editor of the 40th Anniversary edition of the Wilderness Act Handbook and the Stand By Your Land grassroots handbook. Watch Bart’s video: Grassroots Power! 

A memorable character in the environmental movement is a man who ran dories (boats) through the Grand Canyon. Now retired at 95 years old, Martin Litton still fights against the degradation and development within important natural areas. He is renowned as a fearsome environmental advocate.  mlittongrandIn the 1970s and ‘80s, he fought alongside David Brower and Edward Abbey against dam proposals and the logging of Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument. Although other kindred spirits frequently bolstered his arguments, Martin was never afraid to stand alone in any debate or fight. Martin Litton’s video Standing Alone illustrates his tenacity. 

Tom Turner, an editor with EarthJustice tells us a story about the creation of the Roadless Rules on U.S. Forest Service Land. aspen-grove-1-623035-m  We learn from Tom that the organization EarthJustice supported that rule when the federal government was not available — or disinterested in defending the law. This is a unique event in the field of environmental law. Tom Turner tells the complete story in his book, Roadless Rules, and has shared a condensed version in our video of the same name.

51ZP6X67MZLIn my lifetime, there were, and are people who understand how essential it is to protect wilderness, and moreover, how to protect land. One of the best is Huey Johnson, founder of The Trust For Public Land, and founder and president of the nonprofit Resource Renewal Institute. Huey has protected untold numbers of acres, saving land and water for our fish and wildlife resources. He works with those who are willing to fight to protect our wilderness and steward our most amazing legacy of public lands. Feature-1  Huey is featured in the documentary film Rebels With A Cause, a story about how Point Reyes and the Marin Headlands were saved in Northern California. I hope that you will put this film on your must-see movie list. You can also read about Huey in an interview published in The North Bay Bohemian.

Is protecting wilderness really a radical idea? I doubt that Brower would say so, but he would probably agree with Dave Foreman, founder of Earth First! who said in Confessions of an Eco-Warrior:

6997851139_2ef31b6475_b “In a true Earth-radical group, concern for wilderness preservation must be the keystone. The idea of wilderness, after all, is the most radical in human thought –more radical than Paine, than Marx, than Mao. Wilderness says: Human beings are not paramount, Earth is not for Homo Sapiens alone, human life is but one life form on the planet and has no right to take exclusive possession. Yes, wilderness for its own sake, without any need to justify it for human benefit. Wilderness for wilderness. For bears and whales and titmice and rattlesnakes and stink bugs. And…wilderness for human beings… Because it is home.”