Sort of a like a dog preparing to lie down, I’ve been circling around this blog thing for some time. When it was first suggested to me, I probably gave a verbal response that reflected my spirit of adventure about the concept. However, anyone able to read the thought bubble above my head would have seen something along the lines of “Are you freakin’ crazy?” But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed to make it happen.
It strikes me that I have a unique vantage point here at the crossroads of environmental discourse. I can’t help but want to share some of what I hear or read, and suggestions that emerge from our meetings here.
In my role with The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, I have the opportunity to talk to some of the best minds in the country – people who are passionately working to solve the significant environmental challenges our nation faces, particularly those surrounding our freshwater resources. In 2009, my first full year as The Johnson Foundation’s Director of Environment Programs, we hosted a few hundred environmental experts, many of whom came as part of our first Environmental Forum focused on how we can get our nation to change course on managing our freshwater resources. Topics included the impact that climate change will have on freshwater, how to handle water delivery and treatment in the urban setting, how we can continue to feed our nation while managing our water resources in a sustainable fashion, the interface between water and energy generation and use, and the broad issues surrounding water’s role in U.S. public health.
The conversations, connections and meeting results have been productive, and hopefully stand on their own merit. But in order to maximize the impact of the work that takes place here atWingspread, we need to make sure the conversation doesn’t stop when participants leave us and head back to the airport. I am hoping this blog will allow us to do just that – continue the conversation, leverage the impact. Equally important, I hope that you will join this discourse and bring your ideas, discoveries, and experiences to it as well. This work is too essential, too urgent, for any of us to try to do it on our own.
So, please join me in the conversation. I have experiences to share, but I’ll also have questions, and will want to hear from you. We should be learning from the good work that is going on all over this country, and around the world, and putting it to broad use.
One of the things I hear over and over again from the smart people I encounter is that if we want to solve our environmental problems, we have to be able to move beyond the small steps of change that have characterized recent environmental work, and be open to making true transformational change happen. Soon. Let’s get going.