I spent three days last week at the annual California Land Trust Conference – where there was a lot of talk about some of our innovative projects. The Land Trust and our partners did a workshop on the San Vicente Redwoods trails that drew a crowd. Natural Resources Secretary John Laird gave a fine speech, which included calling out the Land Trust for “taking it on themselves to get a wildlife tunnel built” – showing the kind of can-do spirit land trusts needed in these times.

There was also a lot of talk about the talk, and actions, coming out of Washington. During the conference the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency said he didn’t believe human actions were the cause of climate change. More regulations on clean air and clean water were rescinded. There’s talk in Congress of selling off public lands to the highest bidders. There was talk at the conference among the younger staff about whether to bring children into the future they foresee.

And there was talk about LA County approving $100 million a year – forever – for safe, clean neighborhood parks and beaches. We heard about the partnerships formed to make that happen, partnerships that crossed the many divides that make up the sprawling county – geographic divides, racial divides, economic divides. At the end of the presentation, the applause was heartfelt, I think, because this one shining example was heartening after the drumbeat of disheartening news.

To me it points to a way forward, to that old slogan that started back when good old Richard Nixon (!) created the EPA now being dismantled: think globally, act locally.

Stephen Slade is the Executive Director at Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. He has two daughters who have grown up in Santa Cruz and he tells them no matter where they go as adults, it won’t be as good as where they grew up.

Find out more about Stephen Slade…

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