From supporting the passage of the REPLANT Act to encouraging continued investment in the Every Kid Outdoors Act, the Co-op Community has activated on behalf of getting outside in some pretty amazing ways this year. We are so excited to see what incredible work we can accomplish in 2022. Thank you for your support, time, energy, and commitment to supporting Cooperative Action now and in the future. If you'd like to read more about what we accomplished together this year, or see what you can do to help in 2022, check out this Uncommon Path article, A Year of Action: What the Co-op Community Accomplished in 2021. Then tell us in the comments below what actions you took this year or what you are excited for in 2022. Thanks!
This is an impressive list! File it as reason #3,912,007 to be proud of being an REI member!
Actions I took in 2021…
I acted on a long standing interest in photography as something that takes my multiple outdoors interests and travel interests and bind them together. I’ve found that to be an activity that allows me to advocate for conservation and stewardship as well. I did a project with the Potomac Riverkeepers that allowed me to produce photographic content for use in their educational publications. And, thanks to one of my fellow REI members, I got involved with Nature First, an org that addresses a little known problem in stewardship: the widespread damaging behavior of pro photographers ranging from pros to amateurs with cell phones. It’s been good for the Earth, but also good for me. One thing I’ve struggled with since acquiring a significant disability has been feeling useful. I’ve got a ways to go on that front. But I’m starting to feel useful again.
Acts for 2022. . . . More nature, of course! The wild horses at Assateague Island will probably see me multiple times. I’ve also been looking into the return of marine mammals to the Chesapeake Bay.
There is a grant program run by the manufacturer of the cameras that I use that specifically funds female photographers taking on passion projects. I’d like to apply for that grant to document the 400+ miles of the Potomac River from the Fairfax Stone (traditionally considered “the” source) to is mouth. It seems like everybody “knows” the Potomac is a stinky, trashed, polluted mess. And actually that is outdated. It used to be that way, and there is quite a bit of work yet to be done, but the Potomac River in 2021-2022 is a recovering water way and a real success story. We’ve even started seeing dolphins return and give birth at the mouth of the river. I’m always hearing how challenges of pollution, global warming, and so on, are too big to solve. But I believe juman problems can be solved by human beings. The Potomac River shows that yes, we can remedy these problems. And showing people something like that is always more powerful than merely telling them. So I’d like to show them the improving Potomac River.
I have another project as well, related to pro-democracy activism in the U.S. I never thought I’d be talking about pro- or anti-democracy in the U.S., but here we are. I’ve been looking for a way to be involved. That one I’m not going to describe because I’m worried about increasing right wing political violence. But it’s another area where at least I’m starting to have some ideas form about how to be useful.
@AngiePaddlesandMore Its awesome to see how you've been able to merge your passions and hobbies together onto something that gets you outdoors AND does good for others and I enjoyed your post all the way down to the last paragraph. There are tons of places (online and otherwise) to find political and other confrontational discussion. It would be awesome to focus here on the things that we have in common (our love for the outdoors, nature, etc.) rather than what we may not have in common (like political leanings).
I’m sorry to hear you do not like my last paragraph. I’m not sure whether it is my support for democracy or my concern for being injured or killed that you dislike. However, I’m writing a posting in response to a report where REI talks about its support for the John Lewis voting rights act, one of the most pro democracy acts around. Democracy, after all, is about voting. Thus, my point does seem germane as it is related to the same activity REI is talking about.
I also was placed under curfew during the insurrection on January 6 because I live within eyeshot of the capitol. Since then, there have also been “fun” things like bomb threats and repeated concerns over violent protest. All of that concerns protests from the right wing. It’s a simple statement of fact. And since my potential project involves taking a look at both sides, I think it’s entirely legitimate to worry about getting assaulted, injured, or otherwise harmed. I do not think wanting to stay alive and uninjured is a political point, nor do I see how I was in anyway confrontational to anyone. I do understand you may disagree. Thank you for letting me know.
If you would like to discuss with me further, you are welcome to send me a private message. So are other people. But, in keeping with my desire to avoid confrontation, I will not be responding to you (or others) via post.
@AngiePaddlesandMore I think @nathanu is for keeping the conversations area a more friendly social network that builds us all up rather than another place where its all about that necessary evil of politics, which I am all for, but that doesn't mean we keep politics out as they are unfortunately a part of life (REI isn't apolitical either IMO, but my views generally align with what they are working towards). I don't like the political bubbles we can get stuck in on other platforms and I do think we can all have reasonable discussions here more than elsewhere. I don't think he is diminishing the concerns you have or the validity of your political activism. I think your project sounds like a good thing and wish you luck on your endeavor.😀
Thank you both for your responses and, as @Diesseldorf mentioned, I believe there is a LOT or value in focusing on the things that bring us together. When we bring politically charged topics into this community and then double down on them (you DO like democracy, DONT YOU), it's hard to see how that does anything to unite us. Additionally, it's difficult to argue that either "side" (left or right) has any moral leg to stand on. The Capitol "riot", largely attributed to the "right wing" was a one day event resulting in $1.2 million in damages and 4 people lost their lives (although the published reports leave a lot of questions about actual cause of death in all but Ashli Babbitt). The protests and riots of the summer of 2020, largely attributed to BLM, Antifa and other "left wing" groups lasted moths, resulted in more than $2 billion in damages and left between 24 and 36 people dead, depending on the report you read. Suffice it to say, I think it's safe to say that the right wing and the left wing are both parts of the same divisive bird. I'd like to think of this community as somewhere we can come and focus on what we have in common and build one another up. Not take a right side or left side.