In my role as director of U.S. Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy, I have been asked to blog on my perspective on national conservation policy issues. And so, with some anxiety, this is my first installment.
I understand that the Internet and new media have become an important part of discussions about U.S. public policy, but participating in those discussions through a blog will be difficult both for me and for the Conservancy. Why?
- For me, because I began my career in government when the electric typewriter was the state of the art and when daily newspapers were the primary medium for policy discourse.
- For the Conservancy, because our organizational culture has always stressed being deliberate, science-based, avoiding confrontation and seeking common ground — perhaps not eye-catching in an age of instant exchanges of often strong opinions.
But, I will have views about a range of government actions that affect Earth’s air, land and water. And because The Nature Conservancy has hundreds of offices and projects across the United States (and around the world), I have the opportunity to gather and convey the perspectives of my colleagues working out there from the Blackfoot Valley in Montana to the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana.
Finally, I intend to focus on four themes that will determine the future of nature in America:
- Slowing the rate of climate change and coping with its inevitable impacts,
- Creating a coherent framework of conserved lands and healthy working landscapes around which we can build a sustainable economy,
- Caring for the water resources upon which life depends including finding better ways to sort out the uses of our changing coastal waters, and
- Restoring America’s role as a leader and innovator in global conservation.
As I said, my tone will be deliberate. I make no apologies for that.
(Photo: Obama for America, Creative Commons License)