Header Photo Caption: Williams Fork Fire, by Kurt Monigle, @kurtmonigle, Fraser, Colorado.
For the past 30 years, the advocacy and hard work of WRA’s dedicated experts and our passionate community of supporters have helped ensure a healthier, more wide-open, and wilder West. From systematically working to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, to protecting miles of rivers and habitat, we all can be proud of how we’ve helped protect this region. But this year has been like no other, and the challenges we face are increasing. The Interior West is feeling pressure from every direction, and now more than ever, it’s on us all to ensure that the future we envision for this region stays within our reach. The most important way you can do this is by making sure you vote —and get everyone you know to vote.
As we sit here reflecting in early fall, all seven states in the region where WRA works are suffering. Colorado is battling five fires, and the Front Range is choked by smoke. The skies over Western communities from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City to Albuquerque and Casper are hazy from blazes as far away as California and have been experiencing record drought. And our neighbors who still lack clean running water or live nearest to fumes from power plants and highways are the ones who are suffering the most from the COVID-19 pandemic we’re still struggling to contain.
The connection between our environmental health and our own health has become very real. In the words of a recent Los Angeles Times editorial: “We are living in the future that climate scientists have been trying to warn us about for years.”
Whatever your political party or your hometown, if you’re reading this, it’s a good bet that we share a love of the West’s land, air, and water. We know that elections have consequences; you can help shape the future of this region we call home. Please make a plan to vote to protect it.
The issues impacting the West are big and dynamic: addressing climate change, protecting the Colorado River from unnecessary burdens like the Lake Powell Pipeline, and ensuring all communities have access to outdoor adventures—to name just a few.
“You can help shape the future of this region we call home. Please make a plan to vote to protect it.”
WRA’s vision for the West is one powered 100% by clean energy, a Colorado River that runs to the sea, and over 50% of lands and habitat protected and connected in perpetuity. We know how to do this—our collaborative work with policy makers and utility companies across the West has already built a blueprint to to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and build a prosperous future that’s powered by clean, renewable energy. Our work with allies across the Colorado River Basin has helped develop a forward-thinking water plan that accounts for population growth in the face of shortening water supplies. But much more remains to be done.
It’s up to us now to decide our future. And we need local, state, and federal policymakers on our side. Without them, the challenge becomes exponentially more difficult. This is why the November elections loom so large. In the face of environmental impacts we can see and breathe, these issues are closer to a tipping point than ever before. Without our stewardship and collective action, the knowledge and blueprints that we have to help solve these problems will risk being just that: plans, often blocked by powerful opposition.
We can meet this challenge. November 3rd is an Election Day with generational consequences. We can take an active role in creating a new future for the West. Who are the next bold leaders sharing our vision? Who will step up and defend our open spaces, fresh water, clean air, and protect us from the impacts of climate change? It’s up to us to decide.
On Election Day, we all need to vote like the future of the West depends on it. Because in many ways, it does.