The Power of Your Voice

Nature needs your voice!

You may not know that considerations are underway by our current Department of the Interior whether to declassify lands that are presently national monuments, such as the newly designated Bears Ears in southeast Utah, the new Berryessa Snow Mountain (California), Giant Sequoia (not the national park section!) The Carrizo Plain, Sonoran Desert, Grand-Staircase National Monument, and the list goes on – 22 in all.  Seriously. 

Aside from your political beliefs, consider the implications of losing these wilderness spaces, and the value that they have as places one can go and ‘lose oneself’ and merge with the whole of nature. As a landscape/nature photographer, these and other public lands are often the source of my photographs, but those photographs are the outward expression of the inward inspiration that I receive while being in these wild, special places, places that take my breath away – and not from hiking, but from the sheer joy of seeing fantastic geology, flower-filled meadows, rushing streams, and wildlife. 

Preserving wild, natural places, is, in my mind, essential for mental health. of us all. Even if we never visit these places, the human mind needs to know that there are places that we can ‘escape to’, a safe zone in nature, away from it all. It’s a primeval base need within us all, whether we are conscious of it or not. If you use local or regional parks for your time with nature, a walk, a hike, a paddle on a lake, then you have felt some of that refreshment, that rejuvenation, that comes from being in nature. These national monuments are land much like a ‘local’ park, just on a grand scale.

National Monuments serve to preserve the integrity of  wild areas that might otherwise be abused by extractive industries, and in some cases provide a buffer zone to those processes just outside of their borders. Many also preserve space needed for wildlife to survive, let alone thrive. And ironically, with the crowds that populate our national parks these days, these monuments are oasis where one can still find solitude, without the crowds, and they are wonder-filled, too, although perhaps not on the grand scale of the national parks nearby. But to the animals, and those of us that go there, they are essential.

I know that not everyone sees ‘eye to eye’ on issues like this, but if you feel strongly about the need for these lands, please consider taking a moment and make your voice ‘heard’ in the public comment period for these monuments on the list.  You can read the information and comment here:

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

The public comment period for the other monuments ends June 10th, EXCEPT for Bears Ears – that ends May 26th, so please, if you plan to comment, do so soon.

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.
― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire


 
 

Brenda Tharp
Brenda is an award-winning photographer, author, keynote speaker, workshop instructor and tour leader. Her acclaimed books include Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography, and Extraordinary Everyday Photography.
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6 Comments

  1. Russ Bishop May 22, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    Thanks for spreading the word, Brenda! There has never been a more important time to speak up for wilderness.

  2. David Peterson May 21, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    Thanks for helping spread the work. I commented last week.

    • Brenda Tharp May 21, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

      Thank you David – I’m glad that this has been spreading through the photography community as well as nature-lovers in general.

  3. Stephen Lustig May 21, 2017 at 8:45 am #

    I have written to Dept of Interior and posted your blog on Facebook. I am glad that you and other photographers are speaking up. Once gone, these places cannot be replaced. Thank you. Steve Lustig.

    • Brenda Tharp May 21, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

      Hi Stephen,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your voice there and here. Yes, it would be such a shame to lose them – they are priceless!