All across America and around the world a growing number of people are getting involved with global conservation. In response to information they hear and see on radio and TV and from print and social media, people of all ages are signing up to help protect our only home, planet earth. They share in common many beliefs including what Chief Seattle said many years ago: “the Earth does not belong to us: we belong to the Earth.”
Balancing the needs of nature and people on a finite amount of land presents challenging choices. We make those choices every day. Helping people get involved is the driving force that motivates me.
The challenges are great, especially in finding ways to encourage people to see how their lives are connected to nature and how sitting back and waiting for others or the government to solve the world’s problems is not a realistic solution. We all need to get involved. Soraya Romero and I got together earlier this year and put together an El Paso Nature Survey. The purpose of the survey is to find out how people in El Paso are already connected to the natural world, what they are doing and to find out who is interested in getting involved.
Are you interested in getting involved with people in El Paso who are trying to make a difference? Let me suggest a number of efforts already underway. For more information on how you can participate contact the respective organizations below or drop me an email at email@example.com.
El Paso Sierra Club Group
The El Paso Sierra Club Group has identified a number of goals on their website at elpasosierraclub.org. I am directly involved with two of those efforts. Both have been high priority projects that I have been involved in for nearly 40 years. One is to put the return of the wolf to Texas back on the conservation radar screen in North America. The other is to gain public support for an international agreement establishing a Big Bend International Park with Mexico. Two committees have been organized and each committee needs more members. To learn more about the wolf effort go to https://ricklobello.wordpress.com/texas-wolves and https://www.facebook.com/returnthewolftotexas. To learn more about the international park effort go to greaterbigbend.org.
Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition and Frontera Land Alliance
Addressing conservation issues in and around El Paso has resulted in both victories and defeats. What is happening along the Trans Pecos Road leading up to Franklin Mountains State Park is an enormous and inexcusable destruction of the city’s natural resources. Many people spoke out against the current plan for this project when hearings were held in 2010, but TX-Dot had more resources and was able to overcome even the objections of members of the City Council.
Over 20,000 people in El Paso have signed letters and petitions over the past few years expressing their support for protecting public lands adjacent to Franklin Mountains State Park. The Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition and Frontera Land Alliance have been leading the way with the support of a small group of concerned citizens. Now with the help of Congressman Beto O’Rourke, the community has put together a plan of action to protect the Castner Range area as a National Monument.
To support efforts to protect public lands adjacent to Franklin Mountains State Park visit franklinmountains.org (contact Judy Ackerman at firstname.lastname@example.org) or http://fronteralandalliance.org (contact Janae’ Reneaud Field at email@example.com).
Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition
The Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition supports programs that enhance conservation and education of the Chihuahuan Desert. The goals of the organization include: serving as a resource on information about the Chihuahuan Desert, encouraging lifelong learning about the Chihuahuan Desert and collaborating efforts among public educators, the public and CDEC. CDEC teams up with Franklin Mountains State Park every year in hosting the Chihuahuan Desert Fiesta, sponsors a program encouraging people to landscape with native plants and hosts a very informative website on the natural resources of the Chihuahuan Desert. For more information on how you can get involved contact Dr. Gertrud Konings at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the organization’s website at chihuahuandesert.org.