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We need to re-enfranchise people to join in the joyous work of restoring our lands and communities.

Let me mince no words: The conservation movement needs to be more inclusive, which may mean that it is less confrontational and more humble. Individuals of all classes and ethnicities have felt increasingly disempowered by the prevalence of top-down decision-making about lands, wildlife and plants that they had known and loved. In many cases, they have become disenfranchised from policy-making processes that ignore their local knowledge, dismiss their cultural or faith-based values, and care less about the economic impact of such decisions on both their livelihoods and their recreational activities.

I have often felt a perplexing disconnect between people’s love for their home ground and their disheartening feeling that they lacked any effective means by which to shape what would happen to their home in the future. We need to re-enfranchise them to join in the joyous work of restoring our lands and communities.

Gary Paul Nabhan

 

 

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