Since 1916, The National Parks Service has been preserving the natural beauty of our country’s diverse environments, educating us about their value and protecting them from the negative influence of industrialism and capitalism. The NPS is charged with the dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while also making them accessible for public use and enjoyment.
Climate Change is easily experienced in our National Parks. In response, the National Parks Service created the Green Parks Plan to directly record the causes and effects. The plan’s “call to action” details goals like being energy and water smart, committing to buying green, and making the grounds themselves more sustainable. By dedicating themselves to direct action, The National Park Service is taking another big step in their goal to maintain and protect our most precious resources.
In 2015, the National Parks Services decreased water use by 13%, diverted 50% of its waste away from landfills, and decreased energy emissions by 11% .
Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, cut spending at the department by 13%; meaning 4,000 fewer employees at NPS, 3,800 positions cut at the EPA, and 2,000 fewer jobs at the State Department.
Zinke, during a meeting with oil executives, described these reductions as career bureaucrats who were obstacles to his plans for widespread drilling. He went on to state that these employees were disloyal to the nation itself.
During this time of harsh changes in the way America was devotedly taking care of its resources, a look to the future is a must. If we need to give away our most precious resources in order to maintain our lifestyles, then we need to ask ourselves what is gained by choosing to reduce ourselves in this way. This could be a time where we get excited about shifting our wants and desires to better match our ability to live happy, productive lives.
Once the extraction industries take control of our Public Lands, the most remote places on earth will go away. Martin and I will be joining our friends, Stuart and Mike to cross-country ski Yellowstone National Park this winter. We consider this a once in a lifetime experience to be in a natural setting with natural sounds, natural smells, natural light, and a natural sky over our heads. Nature will do what it wants with us. We will get to experience what that feels like.
When I returned from rafting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, I found it very challenging to return to the same wants and desires I had three weeks prior to that special experience.
When Martin and I picked up the plastic littered in Jamaica Bay, I couldn’t see plastic ever again as a miracle to modern living and our convenience.
Take a moment to reflect what brings happiness to you. Challenge yourself to break free of the routines you developed. See yourself with the potential of that person before you became part of “The Race”. This time is so much bigger than us.
Until next time,