An introduction from students Matt Covert, Chris Long, Ryan Marsh, Holly Robertson and Vanessa Wishart
April 11, 2012
This environmental journalism project has evolved out of a series of recent events and conversations the five of us have shared with friends, colleagues and professionals. Being amongst the final cohort of Doris Duke Conservation Fellows, a program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to identify and support future conservation leaders, we felt an imperative to address the broader contemporary issues facing conservation today.
At the Doris Duke Conservation Fellows 2011 gathering at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va., we connected with fellows from Duke, Yale, Cornell and Northern Arizona universities and the universities of Michigan, Florida and California at Santa Barbara. The weekend sparked many friendships and many discussions about the current state of conservation in the United States.
We had a particularly poignant conversation on the topic of "What is conservation?" While we all could agree on central tenets of conservation, there were various opinions about how to approach it in our individual work and collectively as a body of environmentalists.
The theme that emerged from that discussion went beyond simply defining conservation and into something much more profound: What does the environmental movement need today?
We presented this theme to our Nelson Institute community a few months later at a spring graduate student retreat entitled Exploding the Whale: Redefining the Environmental Movement. At this retreat, we engaged our fellow students in a series of workshops, small group discussions and fireside chats revolving around the current state of the environmental movement. We shared ideas about the critical issues facing the movement and the roles that we, as Nelson students, will play in its development.
Our blog will continue to explore this topic through interviews with environmental leaders in various fields. Each interviewee has his or her own perspective on environmentalism, but throughout the interviews we will identify common themes and promising strategies for evolving what it means to care about the environment. Enjoy, and please feel free to share your own thoughts.
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