Amargosa Conservancy Board of Directors, 2023
Effective conservation work takes vision. And vision takes people.
Last weekend, January 21-22nd, the Amargosa Conservancy board of directors and staff met in Shoshone, CA for two days of intensive visioning and action planning.
Due to the COVID pandemic, this was the first opportunity for our organization to meet in person in several years. In the last 14 months alone, our organization has not only onboarded a new executive director — that’s me — but also three new board members: Chris Clarke, Russell Scofield, and Laura Crane. In-person meetings like these are reminders that behind the Zoom rooms, emails, texts and phone calls are real people, with real passion and expertise, and a genuine connection to place. A meeting of our AC community was long overdue, and urgently needed.
The purpose of our two day meeting was to reflect on what the Amargosa Conservancy has accomplished in the last year and to develop a strategy and action plan for how we might walk the road ahead.
And folks, the road ahead is full of both exciting opportunities and enormous challenges.
Below is a map that was developed for our in-person meeting to reflect both current and proposed energy and extraction projects in the Amargosa Basin:
$ = proposed gold mine — red icon = proposed lithium mine — sun = proposed solar project
In the rhythm of our day-to-day work, we tend to focus on the smaller tasks and challenges that need our immediate attention. But during visioning and planning sessions like we had last weekend, zooming out and getting the full picture of changes occurring and proposed on the landscape is vital.
And frankly, the scope and volume of projects proposed in the Amargosa Basin is staggering.
Organizations like ours all over the American West are facing an unprecedented wave of proposed changes to our public lands. A great deal of political and economic pressure is currently being put on managing agencies to expedite development to help transition the U.S. energy economy into renewable electrification. As the map reflects, the Amargosa Basin has not been overlooked for such development. Taken as a sum, if the projects currently proposed on public lands in the American West were to be fully implemented, it would amount to one of the greatest industrial transformations of public lands in American history, maybe even planetary history. Thousands of acres of undeveloped and pristine ecosystems would be permanently altered, initiating a cascading series of impacts that can scarcely be imagined into the deep future. The future of many lives, species, and communities will be shaped by the decisions made and actions taken in the present.
This is the road ahead. This is why the time our organization spent together last weekend, in person, as a community, matters. Moments of colossal transition call for community, togetherness, for real people with real relationships to the landscape. As we consider the road before us, I am more grateful than ever for the people that serve this organization who can bring to bear their expertise, wisdom, and resources to orient the Amargosa Conservancy to these new daunting horizons.
We will be continuing to work through our strategic plan regarding how we will engage on these issues alongside willing partners over the coming weeks and months. We will be counting on you, our supporters, to help move our organization into a posture of readiness so that we may continue to take a stand for the land, water, wildlife, and people that call this magnificent place home.
Effective conservation work takes vision. Vision takes people, people like these: