Hey everybody it’s January 2020 Happy New Year! In fact happy new decade for the 21st century. It’s kind of cool to be living in the future, a time I tried to imagine as a kid growing up in the 80s. But here we are. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. And still what a long way yet to go.
If you’ve been following my work on this podcast or in a few magazine articles I’ve written over last few years you know that I put a lot of effort into the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion or DEI in the world outdoor recreation and environmental conservation. Throughout the last decade I’ve reported a lot about the progress that the outdoor industry has made in creating positive cultural and professional environments for people of color, the differently abled, those who identify as LGBTQ and other socially marginalized communities. But there is still so much that outdoor retailers, manufactures and non profit organizations can do to create spaces where everyone can not only be made to feel welcome, but encouraged to thrive, succeed and excel. I spent a bit of time throughout 2019 exploring how various institutions in the outdoor industry are rethinking the various pathways they can take to get a wide variety of different people outside.
So I made stop in Atlanta Georgia to speak to a team of subject matter experts who are leading the way toward making the outdoors more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
From the moment I first arrived I was made to feel welcome. I remember on that first day, years ago, I was greeted so warmly by Jim Olver the director of customer service at the Banff Centre For Arts & Creativity.
You just showed up and glommed on to one of my tours,” he reminded me. “Now look at you. You’re back as a big-time speaker.”
For more than a decade I’ve enjoyed the privilege of attending the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Alberta, Canada. Like most aspiring adventurers I first became aware of Banff through the amazing films that tour the world every year and feature the best athletes in the sports of skiing, climbing, mountain biking and kayaking. I was also inspired by the remarkable stories of passionate people and communities that express their place in the world through an active relationship with nature. And despite marginal skills and few noteworthy accomplishments as an alpinist I managed to become part of this annual 9-day celebration of mountain culture.
For 34 days The United States Federal Government has been in a partial shutdown. Pretty much since the beginning, the natural environment has been feeling the effects. Big Cities and small towns from coast to coast that serve as gateway communities near our national parks are on the frontlines of a political conflict that has put at risk the conscientious management of public land.
About 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed from their jobs or are required to work without pay. Among them are more than 27,000 National Park...