Monday, March 26, 2012

Farewell and Thanks! by Moderator John Hartig

Discussion Topic: Burning Rivers: Revival of Four Urban-Industrial Rivers That Caught Fire

It has been a real honor to be a moderator on America’s Wild Read and I want to thank Anne Post, Sarah Gannon Nagle, Nancy Pollot, and the rest of the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) staff and Friends of NCTC for giving me this opportunity.  I would also like to thank everyone who participated for enriching the discussions and for helping raise awareness of this topic and the importance of urban conservation.  I firmly believe that with the scientific capacity in the academic, private, and public sectors, and in the passion of the environmental, conservation, and sustainability nongovernmental organizations, we have the capability to avoid the next “tipping point.”  But can we come together and learn to live sustainably in time?  It will not be easy and will take everyone working together. 

Urban areas are unique because that is clearly where the environmental, natural resource, and human population problems are manifested most, and yet that is where, I believe, we have the greatest potential to solve these problems if we have the heart and commitment to learn to live sustainably.  We need the scientific community, the public sector, the business sector, the nongovernmental sector, and others to come together synergistically to educate, inform, inspire, and lead us to a more sustainable future.  Knowledge and broad-based education will be essential. 

As noted in my third post on February 25th, we will need provocateurs, incrementalists, and sustainability entrepreneurs doing their parts, and for leaders to be nurtured and developed.  But I believe that education is the key. 

We will need cooperative learning that results in an environmentally-conscious citizenry.  No one person, organization, institution, or agency has all the answers.  Answers and solutions will arise out of a cooperative learning process that involves stakeholders learning and working together to accomplish the common goal of sustainability, under conditions that involve positive interdependence and individual and group accountability.  Such cooperative learning is essential to educate and inspire people to: understand problems, causes, and ramifications; address carrying capacity; protect the environment; foster a conservation ethic; ensure environmentally-sustainable economic development; avoid the next “tipping point;” and live sustainably. 

Our discussions have been a perfect segue into Wild Read’s next book which is Wild in the City: Exploring the Intertwine, co-edited by Mike Houck and M.J. Cody. The discussion begins April 15 with the first posted narrative from one of the editors.  I encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and keep up the discussion of urban conservation in the exploration of Portland’s and Vancouver’s wonderful network of parks, trails, and natural areas.  here is the tentative discussion schedule:

Week 1:  MJ Cody leads the conversation with Mike Houck and Bob Sallinger chiming in:  Introduction: How Wild in the City, A Guide to Portland's Natural Areas (earlier edition) came to be and the evolution to Wild in the City: Exploring The Intertwine.  Discussions will center around the evolution of the Urban Naturalist Program at the Audubon Society of Portland during the 1980s, the Urban Naturalist publication and the philosophy behind both entities. And ultimately how all lead to the publication of  Wild in the City: Exploring The Intertwine.

Week 2: Mike Houck takes the lead to explain about The Intertwine and The Intertwine Alliance and the relationship to the Metropolitan Greenspaces Alliance (Chicago Wilderness, Houston Wilderness, et al) and the national interest of nature in the city, tying into Richard Louv's work; Tim Beatley; etc

Week 3: Bob Sallinger focuses on Living With Urban Wildlife and the approaches he and others have taken to co-exist with urban wildlife

Week 4: Mike Houck and Bob Sallinger  focus on green infrastructure, ecosystem services and other means towards the next frontier in integrating natural and built environments.

Thanks and please don’t stop sharing your passion!

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