The entire Greater Yellowstone ecosystem has a long and honorable tradition of conservation. Early white explorers spread the word about a fantastic land filled with geologic and wildlife wonders. Artists flocked to the area to paint and photograph those wonders. And all of America wrapped itself in a great shawl of pride. The imprint of this sense of wonder was so great, Yellowstone was set aside as the first national park. So much beauty, so much grandeur seemed itself to foster the idea of protection and conservation.
And for over a hundred and fifty years individuals and groups took up the banner and fought to protect not just the Park but all the surrounding areas. These protectors created rich traditions and a web of relationships that continue to this day. Anyone who is driven to protect this stunning place can find a way to fit in with one of the well-established organizations that have been advocating, educating, and fighting for conservation for decades
Climate protectors are recent arrivals. We are just beginning to build local groups to address climate change where we live. We’re building connections with neighbors and friends who want to take action on climate. We’re interacting with our local and state governments and learning how to have an impact there. But we don’t have decades to get ourselves off the ground. And that’s where the active support from conservationists will be critical.
The wellsprings of love of place that send people to work on conservation or climate are one and the same. We are essentially the right and left hands in one body. Many of the climate activists I know originally had a home in conservation groups and continue to support them. Our climate work is getting stronger as more conservationists join us as supporters. Our alliance is the best hope we have to protect both the places we love and a stable climate all life depends on.
Joanie Kresich, YBCC co-chair