Quality of life issues a priority

By: Jeremy Terhune, August 11, 2011


With all of the fires that need to be put out in Washington, bigger environmental organizations seem to be focusing their resources on single-issue campaigns and activism.

In California, not enough attention is given to the root of the problem:

Whole generations of youth (especially Latinos, who will someday represent more than 50 percent of the voting population in California) are so caught up not being “left behind” that they are being “left indoors,” and not building an understanding of the natural world surrounding them!

Meanwhile, volunteer groups like Friends of the Lower Calaveras River and are doing what they can to provide high-quality outdoors experiences to youths while operating on shoestring budgets.

Let’s spend less time talking about fancy, single-issue campaigns and start understanding environmental conservation issues for what they really are: quality of life issues!

When our youths experience how clean air, cool hiking trails and swimmable waterways bring prosperity and health to their communities, they will understand why being a good steward is just another facet of their daily lives.

As Van Jones observed, we are truly at a critical junction where environmental degradation and social injustice meet at the crossroads.

“We cannot solve our problems,” said Albert Einstein, “with the thinking we used when we created them.”

Let’s focus developing a generation of youth leaders who will understand the true meaning of improving the “quality of life” in the Central Valley for all who reside here – people, plants, and wildlife!

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