Lately I’ve thought a lot about history. It’s something of a shock to realize that the beginning of the modern environmental movement, in the 1970s, is 40 years in the past. This new video is a discussion I had with Huey Johnson, one of the giants of that era. Huey led The Trust for Public Lands, which aggressively acquired open space and natural resources to preserve them for the future. It was such an exciting time. We believed that we could make enormous changes in the care of our planet; that once people understood how much was at stake attitudes and practices would change. In the video, Huey and I underscore the importance of moving ahead for progress although there is a risk. Pushing back against people who cannot take a risk is a message from the ‘70s that is still strong.
Many things affecting the planet did change. I sense that young people today understand what is at stake, and millions have changed their habits and patterns to ‘live more gently on the earth.’ Of course, many have not, and new challenges always arise, especially as the economy slows and works against long-term investment.
My friend Margaret Catley-Carlson, a Canadian world leader in the application of science and knowledge to environmental and development problems, wrote to me saying that when she read Founding a Movement, “ it recreates an era, brings a marvelous collection of people back to life, and describes well a time when there was such receptiveness to new ideas and concepts, and huge enthusiasm for things that ‘might work.’ …It was before donors became number obsessed rather than impact-interested.”
I do hope and pray that our continued focus on environmental issues will lead to a better path.
The other aspect of history that I sense is specifically around Women’s World Banking. I spent June in Europe and when speaking about the founding, I realize that almost no young people know the history. The fact that the founding was the first time that professional women came together to work in solidarity with low-income women around the world is lost. WWB is one of the few institutions from that time still functioning. It seems we need to teach and learn these lessons over and over again.
Please send me your own stories, so that we can continue to share and celebrate the current history being made for all women, and for the environment.