To fuel passion for what we are trying to save, organizations like ours
should require their workers to spend two weeks in the wilderness every year,
says conservationist Dave Foreman. Such sojourns could help nurture the heart of
a movement that at times gets too wrapped up in heady theories and hard work.
Fortunately, Sierra needs no such forced wilderness marches. Our staff venture
out-of-doors on their own initiative. In fact, when it was time to plan and
research the 1998 "Wild Journeys" issue, it was hard to keep them at home. Even
senior editor Reed McManus, who coordinates the work of others in this issue
every year, succumbed to wanderlust, tossed his notebook into a dry-bag, and
headed down a wild British Columbia river.
"It might just be a vacation," McManus warned before he left, leery of promising
insight or epiphany on what might be an uneventful trip.
He surprised himself midway through the journey, however, when
he realized that he was learning how to see nature in new ways, aided by a plant
list and a journal. Others on the trip, including wildlife artist Robert Bateman
and photographer Art Wolfe, used sketch pens and camerasall standard tools for
developing a deeper kinship with nature.
The allure of Canada's magnificent wilds
also tempted senior editor Paul Rauber. He eschewed plants (there weren't any!)
to ponder how humans and other mammals adapt to the year-round rigors of Baffin
Island in the Canadian Arctic.
Writer/editor B. J. Bergman, who spent two weeks
in the Grand Canyon for a story last issue, had the shortest but arguably the
scariest assignment for March/Aprilventuring into a crowded California shopping
mall to check out a $9.95 "wilderness experience."
If it sounds as if we may have
had too much fun putting out this issue, keep in mind these words from author
Edward Abbey: "Devoted though we must be to the conservation cause, I do not
believe that any of us should give it all of our time or effort or heart. Let us
save at least part of our lives for enjoyment of this wonderful world which still
exists. Leave your dens, abandon your cars, and walk out into the mountains, the
deserts, the forests, the seashores. Those treasures still belong to all of us.
Enjoy them to the full, stretch your legs, enliven your heartsand we will
outlive the greedy swine who want to destroy it all."