equity Tag

Banff, Diversity, Film Festival / 01.12.2019

Right up to the moment we were about to start I was convinced no one was going to show up. A chilly wet snow had begun to fall at the Banff Centre and I was certain that few would welcome the opportunity to gather outside for a fireside chat, even if there was free hot chocolate. When the folks at Mountain Equipment Co-Op asked me to moderate a panel discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion in the outdoors on the final day of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, of course I immediately said yes. But when the moment arrived I sincerely doubted that we would draw crowd willing to discuss these complicated issues while standing out in the cold. Turns out I was wrong. [dropcaps type='normal' font_size='72' color='#eb9007' background_color='' border_color='']T[/dropcaps]he flames of the propane fueled campfire offered up little light and even less warmth. But those that gathered for our conservation brought with them burning curiosity and a sincere desire to affect substantive change. My fellow panelist included Canadian rock climber Sabrina Chapman and Kieran Britton – founder of  The Lady Alliance, an organization dedicated to empowering women of color to become leaders in outdoor recreation. I also tapped my friend Faith Briggs, a Portland-based adventure athlete and film producer, to join in the conversation. For more than an hour we invited the assemblage of outdoor enthusiasts to share their personal stories of life in the natural world. Their narratives had in common the earliest memories of childhood and the influence of trusted mentors. They each acknowledged not only their obligation to protect and preserve the wild spaces we all love but to prepare a place for those on the margins of our global community who lack or have been deprived the means to get outside and enjoy nature. As the evening light slowly faded into darkness the campfire seemed to burn a bit brighter. The crowd dispersed but a few lingered to ask questions and share some parting thoughts. Though I cannot say that our little fireside chat provided any particularly rousing insights or solutions. But I came away from the experience with a growing sense of optimism. At least now we seem willing to talk about these topics that make us so uncomfortable. The only way we can expect to make any progress is understand that we’re all in this together. [caption id="attachment_2066348" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Photos courtesy of MEC[/caption](Authors note: It has been almost a month since this event occurred. Forty-Eight hours after this picture was taken I had to beat it to Albuquerque, New Mexico to begin the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour. Only now that I’m en route to the lighting ceremony in Washington D.C. after a very long road trip do I have time to play catch-up on my web site updates. Stay tuned...there’s more to come!)

Many thanks to the Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival for hosting our panel discussion and visit to Canada. Appreciation as well goes to Mountain Equipment Co-Op for organizing this fireside chat. And much gratitude to the continuing support of funding partners The National Forest Foundation, American Rivers and Patagonia.  

American Rivers, Environmental Justice, Essays, ThinkOutside / 20.10.2019

Over the last several weeks I’ve enjoyed many opportunities to reimagine the outdoors. I’m not suggesting that the natural world should be seen as landscapes with purple skies or orange grass populated by prancing unicorns ( as cool as that might be). But rather I envision an environment in nature where everyone is not only made to feel welcome, but encouraged to become active participants in its long-term preservation. I want to see everyone outside. Recent reporting projects included stops at the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia, the Willamette...

Adventure Activism, Commentary, Diversity, Environmental Justice, Environmental Protection, Latino Outdoors, National Forests, National Parks, On Assignment, Public Land, The Pathways Project / 15.08.2019

The weather on this August day in Atlanta was seasonably warm. That is to say, it was hot! But when confronted by the realities of climate change everyone seemed to think it was a lot hotter than it should have been. The temperature was well above 95º Fahrenheit as we walked along the trails of the East Palisades section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Sweat poured down my face and completely drenched my clothes. Despite the heat on a sunny Saturday morning the parking lot was full and dozens of people came out to experience the joy of nearby nature.
Diversity, Millennials, Outdoors For All, Special Events / 06.08.2019

The best parts of a long weekend I spent indulged in the privilege of good friends. When I invited my colleagues José Gonzalez and Carolyn Finney to join me as panelists in a discussion on diversity equity and inclusion at the Summit Series Summer Jam in Eden, Utah I knew we were in for a good time. Twice already in the summer of 2019 we had met to share our expertise before an audience on the importance of creating space in the natural world that is open and...

Business, Diversity / 08.04.2019

Over the weekend I had the wonderful privilege to visit for the first time Cuyahoga Valley National Park. But a canceled flight made for a harrowing day of air travel as my journey to Cleveland, Ohio from Madison, Wisconsin was rerouted through Denver, Colorado. I typically don’t like to fly on the same day that I give a presentation to avoid circumstances exactly like this. Though I had planned to arrive with plenty of time to visit the area and explore a bit, I managed to get to...

Commentary, Diversity / 01.01.2018

There’s a moment in public speaking when you know you’ve got them. Someone in the back of the room shakes their head.  Tongues click with disgust. Oh the injustice! A sharp intake of breath from the third row sets the hook as others gasp, right on cue. A grown man wipes a tear from his eye.  Then, at the end, there’s the question I’m so often asked: “What can we do to help?” Over much of the last two years I’ve traveled around the country presenting to audiences on...