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Make Change Happen

There has been a lot of positive change in the outdoor space over the past 10 YEARS but we have to keep working.

Recently I took part in a life-coaching exercise during which I was asked to write down what I would do if I knew I was going to be struck dead by lightning in six months.My first response was easy and primal: I would want to make sure that my family, my kids, wife, parents, all the people I love would be set up to thrive with me gone. I hope I am working to that end even now (and I think that was supposed to be the idea of the exercise). My next response was connected: I want to be sure that I make a difference in the world, on the planet. I want to be sure I don’t leave this earth without doing all I can to see that it also thrives and survives. I also think that goal is attainable. I believe in the biologist and conservationist E.O. Willson’s call for “Half Earth,” for us to dedicate half of this planet to providing habitat for the diversity of life on it beyond us. I believe we have the power to live up to our potential as human beings, to make use of our intelligence and compassion to ensure this world survives beyond our lives. Doesn’t that seem attainable?

There is a lot of negativity when it comes to the state of our planet, a lot of doomsaying. I am not implying that concern is not warranted. We do seem to be fucked if we keep headed down some of the paths we seem incapable of veering off. But I also believe in us. And I believe actually doing something is better than taking the easy route of smugly saying “We are fucked!” Because then we are. But we do need to act more. The biggest problem with the old what-would-you-do-if-you-knew-you-were-going-to-die question is that it makes us think and live as if each moment was our last… and then we slide back to just dealing with our day-to-day responsibilities. So I’m not asking you—or myself—to raise hell with the urgency of the Grim Reaper on our tails, just to try to cultivate actual change in this world, rather than fall victims to cynicism.

I have taken pepper spray to the face protesting for environmental protection and social good, but that radical action may not have had as much of a real effect as putting this magazine out every month. Over the 10 years we have been publishing Elevation Outdoors, I can only hope we have built something here that has made a difference. When I look back at all the powerful voices and stances we have taken in these pages, I am pretty proud of our work.

We have championed diversity, equality and inclusion in the outdoors. We have spoken up against the willful ignorance of climate change deniers. We have advocated for public land protections and tried to be open-minded in considering who uses and loves these lands. And we plan to keep speaking out, keep listening and, we hope, keep making a difference.

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