As each New Year comes around, I find myself reflecting on the past year and thinking of the coming year, and as always, I think about my age. I was born on New Year’s Day, so it is only natural. And yes, I am an environmental elder, and very proud of it! I am honored to be included in the company that I keep with the Resource Renewal Institute staff and Forces of Nature! I’m energized in my work with my vital and hard working colleagues and mentor, Huey Johnson, founder of the Resource Renewal Institute!
In 2013, Huey has successfully undertaken three major environmental projects, all featured on rri.org. In addition, this year, Huey has been a film star in, Rebels with a Cause, an outstanding documentary by Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto sharing the story of Point Reyes and the land preservation fights in west Marin county in the 1980s. REBELS received the 2012 Mill Valley Film Festival Audience Favorite Award for Best Documentary – Active Cinema. The film has been held over for weeks. Check it out!
Some background on Huey’s trailblazing. In the 1980s, as the California Secretary of Resources, Huey envisioned, and his team created, a comprehensive California Water Atlas. The water atlas was the first of its kind, illustrating and dissecting every major water body in California and explaining the state’s complex plumbing. Fast forward to the present: Huey, an energetic octogenarian, has embraced 21st century digital mapping to create a New California Water Atlas. I find this unbelievably inspiring that a senior has created this digital tool for the next generation. The savvy folks who understand the power of government open data totally respect and appreciate this. Starting with California, but hopefully, this project will help to ignite a movement that explodes nationwide to bring transparency to complex natural resource issues in government.
As the director of the Forces of Nature project, I have been honored to meet those that have influenced Huey, and those whose lives have been changed by knowing him. An unparalleled friend to many, Huey’s generosity of spirit is unique. His honest and simple lifestyle encourages me to be a better environmentalist every single day. On weekends, when he is not doing something for his friends, he is in the office writing an op-ed, or thinking up new ideas for some particular passion of his, or finding ways to fund our work. He never quits – that word does not exist in his vocabulary. Huey’s outspoken nature and those of our Forces have inspired me to move beyond my fears. Being the ultimate shrinking violet, I began to write this blog and be more present in our larger electronic world. I believe this is what it will take for each of us to change our world for the better.
Our project is aptly named, the Forces of Nature. They are – we are. In the past two years of interviewing elders, I have met many extraordinary and active environmentalists who have made amazing contributions to our world. More than ever, I am inspired to share these videos with young and old. I see the Forces of Nature as a wonderful bridge from our 20th century environmentalists – to our 21st century environmentalists. We all stand on the shoulders of giants and our series illustrates just how this works. What wisdom we have to tap into today — with more than 100 videos on our website – just click play! It is so easy. We would love to hear your comments. Our Forces are so wise, and many are at a point in their lives that they can give back and share their wisdom with our wonderful, energetic younger generations. I see 2014 as a year to come together as one.
I hope you will take some time to watch these incredible interviews with Huey Johnson and our Forces. If you care about our planet – our land, water, trees, wildlife, history, public health, poetry, art, science, climate change, open data, and sharing knowledge – from one to another – for a single honest cause, consider watching the Forces of Nature and please show your support by contributing to our projects at www.rri.org.
All of us from RRI wish you a happy, healthy, and inspiring 2014! One Love!