Photo: Alex Pullen
By Chris Wilkins
I’ve learned a lot of things serving on the SJCA board – how a non-profit budget works, how many acronyms there are in the government, how LONG everything takes in the environmental world. It changes the way I look at familiar places, whether I’m riding the Hermosa Creek Trail, floating the Dolores, or driving through the gas patch around Chaco. After our board meetings, I’m always amazed at how much work the small SJCA staff does to protect the places that I love. And I always feel slightly overwhelmed by all of the threats those places still face.
Our part of the country can feel like a playground, a sanctuary from the rest of the world. But the fact is, the outside world is waiting, right over the hill or just upstream. So many national and global issues – fossil fuel development and climate change, threats to our drinking water, the appropriate use of our public lands – play out right here in our backyard. For 30 years, the Alliance has been effectively engaging in those issues and giving voice to the people who live here.
2016 isn’t ending the way I hoped it would. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been gradually getting over the temptation to hit snooze, ignore the news, and have an extra cocktail. This election has helped me to remember that the world of clean air, pure water, and healthy lands for which SJCA advocates isn’t just going to happen by itself. It’s going to require all of us to stand together and speak up.
No matter what challenges we face in 2017 and beyond, I feel lucky that those of us who live here have an organization like SJCA representing us. The more I become involved, the more I appreciate the dedication, knowledge, and experience that the staff brings to their work. I feel proud to stand alongside all of our members and supporters in the community.
And, as my inbox and mailbox fills with requests from worthy organizations this time of year, I’m grateful for the opportunity to support one so close to home.
Chris Wilkins has been on the board since 2015 and currently serves as Board President