To celebrate the month of love we asked our community to send in their little love letters to the West so we could highlight the things that light you up about our beautiful region.
On this episode, we talk with WRA president, Jon Goldin-Dubois, to reflect on some of our wins over the last 34 years, to discuss our new brand identity and to look toward the future of climate solutions. Jon also shares with us a beautiful ode to the Colorado River and a shout-out to the deserts of Utah.
Interspersed throughout this episode you’ll also hear the love letters from our community as read by our WRA staff including poems, important memories, family stories, land appreciation posts and calls to action.
Jon Goldin-Dubois joined the WRA team as president in 2014. Throughout his tenure, Jon has tackled the urgent climate crisis head-on. He and the team he has built have made great strides on the issue by ensuring resources are trained squarely on creating a healthier and more equitable future for the West. Under his leadership, the organization has increased its effectiveness across the region. Jon is also an avid hiker, backpacker and outdoor enthusiast. His genuine love for the West is felt in everything that he works on.
This episode of 2 Degrees Out West also features nine Little Love Letters to the West but we received many more including photos and original artwork, all of which can be seen in our Field Notes quarterly newsletter online here.
Thank you so much to everyone who sent in their letters and helped us celebrate both our new brand launch and the February Valentine’s Day Season.
Did you want to tell us what you love about the West? You can always add your voice and love to our podcast by sending us a What I Like About the West recording. More details on that are below.
We would love for you to contribute to the new “What I Like About the West” Segment.
Create a 40-second voice memo telling us what you like about the West and email it to us at Jessi.Janusee@westernresourceadvocates.org. We would love to feature you on our next podcast episode! Also, please take a minute to watch this 1950’s video of Tex Williams performing the song, “That’s What I Like About the West.” His song was the inspiration for this segment.
That's What I Like About The West
- Read all of our Love Letters to The West
- Listen to Jon Goldin-Dubois’s 2 Degrees episode about trail magic
- Learn about how climate change is affecting the West
- Plan a trip to one of Jon’s favorite places – Utah – Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument | Bureau of Land Management (blm.gov)
- Check out Javelina, the brand agency that helped us develop our new look
- Help WRA create more climate solutions in the West
Jon Goldin-Dubois is the president of WRA. Jon understands the challenge of climate change but isn’t discouraged by the scale of the work to be done to address the climate crisis in the Interior West. His deep connection to the natural world, particularly the mountains, rivers, and deserts of the West, drives his desire to find and present opportunities to rebuild our economies and societies in harmony with the environment.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller
Welcome everybody. So on this episode, we’re doing something a little bit different. Usually, we focus on a certain region of the Interior West, but this episode we’ve decided to do something called Love Letters to the West. This is a celebration of all the things that we hold dear about the West, and you know, it’s Valentine’s Day season, it’s that time to really find gratitude and love for those things that light you up, that give you a little bit of magic and make life just better. So we’ve asked the WRA community to send in their love letters to the West over the last month, and we’ve gotten some amazing letters, we’re going to share those with you on this episode.
We’re also going to talk with Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President, the president of WRA and see what he loves about the West , and [00:01:00] also some things that he’s really excited about for 2023.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: It is a very different thing to be away and in wilderness, whether it’s desert, whether it’s mountains, it just is a different feeling than I, you know, I feel like my best self when I’m out there.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Welcome to Two Degrees Out West, a podcast where we spotlight the Western United States, where we talk about the effects of climate change and what we can all do to save our lands, protect our waters, help our people to thrive and clean our air. I’m your host, Jessi Janusee and I am the multimedia storyteller here at Western Resource Advocates.
Let’s get started. Today on the podcast, we have Jon Goldin- Dubois. The president of WRA, he’s going to be talking to us about all things new brand and the future of WRA welcome and thanks for being here.
Roya Wolfe – Development Coordinator:
Hey, I’m Roya Wolfe from WRA and I’m reading a Love letter from Katherine Delanoy. “Why do I love Colorado? The trees, the rivers and the rocks. The rock formations put down and raised up over millions of years. You can see them layers upon layers, tilted and swirled in the water, running through, carving and eroding until we have fascinating canyons and high on the side of a canyon, a lone tree growing out of the rocks, no sustenance to be seen, and then around a curve forest spruce, pine juniper, and aspens up high and cottonwoods down by the water. And then home, a doe walks through my yard. Thank you.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Hi, Jessi I’m so glad to be here.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: First, I wanted to get into the rebrand because it’s a really big deal. We’ve been around for a long time and had the same brand.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Yeah, It’s been a while for sure.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Why did WRA decide that now is the time for the rebrand?
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Well, in a lot of ways it was the perfect time to do it because we just launched a new strategic plan, and that plan seeks to use the expertise that WRA has and the understanding that we have of our region to drive three critical goals, and those include decarbonizing electricity production and electrifying other sectors of the economy so that we reduce greenhouse gases by 120 million tons of the emissions from greenhouse gases. We are working to ensure that states use 25% less water and protect the Colorado River and other key rivers around the West, and to protect 30% of Western lands in each of the major eco regions and ensure that we have commitments in place to achieve a 50% protection of Western lands by 2050. And so unfortunately, we have a very limited amount of time to advance these objectives to address the challenges of climate change and the crisis on the Colorado River and what could be without decisive action an impending extinction crisis. And so the plan that we’ve developed really recognizes the scale of the problems that we face, it leverages all that we’ve been learning and refocuses all of our resources on addressing climate change and its impacts and environmental injustice. And so the plan itself is really our best attempt to respond to what we are seeing and to do so aggressively effectively with urgency and with focus to give us the best chance to protect the West and the larger planet. So as part of that effort, we’ve taken three extraordinary steps to help us achieve our ambitious goals. The first is our sister organization sold its office building in Boulder, and we’re reinvesting all of those proceeds into our work so that we can achieve our plan over this critical three-year time period.
The second thing we’ve done is we have created a new partner 501c4 organization, the WRA Action Fund. And that gives us more tools to add additional strength to our advocacy efforts around the West. And then finally, and back to your question, we launched a new brand and a new website just a couple of weeks ago.
And the brand itself coupled with the website really demonstrates our commitment to this work. I think it simplifies and streamlines the way that we inform people, the way we engage them in our work. Because the reality is fighting climate change and protecting land and rivers in this next three year period is going to take record levels of engagement and record levels of fundraising. And we think the brand is a tool that will help us do that.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Nice, so there’s a lot of work. There’s a lot we want to get done, and this brand will help, get it done basically, and in a better way, with a better flow, more succinctly, with more engagement so it’s just the tools to help us reach those goals.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Yeah, that’s absolutely what it is. I think, you know, the brand and the website together really are the place where people find us and where they see us and they represent the organization. But just as you’re saying, they’re the tools that make it possible to do our work. And I think the brand and the website are beautiful and they’re easy and they’re simple and it’s easy to engage there, and that’s what we need people to do, is to engage in our work, to help us drive it.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah, I love the website. I think it’s way easier to use and also represents our work in a better way.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: I agree.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: So there’s a lot to talk about in regards to WRA and the future. But first I wanted to talk a little bit about our past and some of the wins we’ve had over the last 30 plus years. WRA’s been around for a long time and done a lot of good work, so I just want to remind people of that so that maybe if they’re new to the podcast or to our organization, they can have a little context.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Yeah. We’re in our 34th year. You know, there’s too many big victories to really cover them all. You know, we’ve protected stretches of five major rivers across the West. WRA and its history was instrumental in crafting many of the renewable energy standards that were passed in states throughout the West.
And the list really does go on and on and on. So I thought, Jessi , maybe I would just draw attention to victories that are more recent, you know, in the last couple few years that kind of bring people up to date on some of the work we’ve been doing. And the first is the commitment that we won from Xcel Energy in Colorado to reduce its climate warming emissions, 80% by 2030 and a hundred percent by 2050 or earlier.
You know, WRA worked really long and sometimes with the utility and partnership, sometimes fighting the utility to get to this commitment. When it was announced, Xcel was the first major utility in the country that had made this commitment, and shortly after they made the announcement in the commitment many other utilities in our region made similar announcements and utilities around the country began to make similar announcements too. That was a huge victory.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: I have so many follow up questions, but we’re going to keep it short and sweet. I’m like, how do we keep them accountable? How do we make sure that their commitments are, you know, that they live up to their commitments, but that’s for another podcast.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Well, and that’s, that’s exactly the work, Jessi. You know, you can’t win a big victory and then just let it go because it’s never really won until it’s over. And I think in our role advocating on climate change, we develop policy, we work to enact the policy, but then we have to follow through and make sure that it is effectively implemented so that we get the reductions that we need, and I think, you know, we continue to do that with Xcel energy and other utilities around the region. So a victory is you know, you like to claim victory, you like to be able to move on, and you can, but you got to hold onto it and make sure it gets effectively implemented.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yes. The work is not done just because you have the win.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: That’s right.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: You got to see it through.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: That’s absolutely right. I want to talk about another victory that we’ve had that is even more recent. So we’ve been doing a lot of work in protecting Western rivers over the last 20 years. In the last couple years we’ve been working to protect some the most amazing stretches of rivers across the West and, and the watersheds that they are in.
And in 2022, we had very big victories in both New Mexico and in Colorado with the passage of outstanding national resource waters designations. And those designations are going to protect over 2 million acres of land from development and degradation in Colorado and New Mexico. And importantly, they protect seven rivers in New Mexico, including the Pecos and portions of the Jemez
And then here in Colorado, they protect tributaries of some of the great rivers in the state, including the Dolores, the San Juan, the Animus, and the Gunnison rivers. All with new protection. So, you know, it’s one of the things we’ve been working hard on lately and it just makes me so proud of our team and the work we’ve done and the partners that we’ve worked with to get that work.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah, we have amazing partnerships and so many different kinds too. It’s really cool to see.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: I think the reality is, the work is too hard and too big to do it alone, and the partners that we work with across the region are really key in helping us get all of these issues across the finish line.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah. It’s always better to work in community, get more done, share the load, and it’s just a better outcome.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Yeah. I think it’s really the only way to win. It’s just too hard. There’s too much to do if you don’t have partners that are in it with you, helping you get it done.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Awesome. So that’s all the good stuff. Well, that’s a small little glimpse of all the good stuff that’s happened in the last 34 years. What are you most excited about for 2023 and beyond?
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: There’s a ton that I’m excited about right now. In this year, obviously, as we were talking about, there’s so much to implement from victories past. We’re obviously going to keep doing that, doing that hard work that we’ve set out for ourselves.
But there’s a lot to do in order to fight climate change and its impact. So we’re going to continue to be in state legislatures and in front of regulatory bodies to win reductions in carbon emissions from the utility sector. Of course, we’re also working on legislation in Colorado this year to protect the Colorado River in the face of the climate crisis so that we increase resilience to deal with drought and to rethink and reset how we use water in the West so that we are protecting the major rivers of the West. And then we have really big efforts in New Mexico to get more dollars into conservation so the state has the resources to protect the amazing landscapes that exist across the state. You know, some of the states around the region, Colorado in particular, has resources from the Colorado lottery to invest in land conservation but many of the states here don’t have any designated resources to protect the landscapes that exist across their states. So I’m super excited that we are working in partnership down in New Mexico to begin to build a sustainable source of revenue that can be invested in setting aside land and protecting land that needs to be protected across that state.
Those are two of the things. You know, there’s a bunch more going on though. In Nevada, we’re seeking hundreds of millions of dollars to advance electrification of the transportation sector, and I think we can succeed there. We are beginning to build out our work to transform and electrify our homes and our businesses to ensure that homes and businesses that today are powered by fossil fuels gas, which are warming the climate and harm our health we want to shift those all over to be powered by clean electricity. So that’s kind of a new body of work that we’re reaching into. And then finally, the work that we’re doing in Colorado to protect the Colorado River needs to expand across the whole of the West.
The river runs through seven states, and so we are really beginning to work with and think about how cities can stretch and use their water supply more efficiently , how farms and ranches can still have resources and water for productive agriculture, but also so that we have a river that really functions as a river that can support fish, wildlife, and habitat.
And that’s going to be a real priority of our work going forward.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah. Healthy rivers is the life blood of the land, especially in the West, we need that water so badly.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: That’s absolutely right. The West wouldn’t exist without a healthy flowing Colorado River.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah. I’m also so excited for the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, that’s going to fund so many cool programs.
It’s going to be really amazing. It’s going to be such a huge win for New Mexico.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Yeah, it’s here right now and I love the name of it for one, the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund, but also just the fact that it’s going to inject resources in a state that actually wants to protect and conserve. landscapes, but has never really had the resources to do it.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah. And it’s going to impact every single county, which is just really impressive to me.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Yeah,
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Love that.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Absolutely
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: It makes me want to learn more about Nevada. I’m like, Nevada, are we doing this? Do we have this in every single county? A cool program that’s supporting our land and our people?
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: There’s so much work to do.
One of the things that we really try to do is, we focus on is how do we create models that can be replicable around the West? And I think the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund really is the kernel of an idea of how do we bring more conservation dollars to states across the West and this year, New Mexico next year maybe it’s Nevada.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah, every state. Let’s do it. Every state deserves to be protected and supported.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: That’s right.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Awesome. Well, so many things to be excited about. It’s great. I mean, as much as you know, I think you can get really doom and gloom about the climate situation, but you have to focus on all the wins and the positivity and all the ways that we’re making it better too.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President:
You’re absolutely right, Jessi. I think there’s a lot of hard work ahead of us, and there is so much to do on climate, land conservation, and river protection. . It can be hard, but like you say, if you have the right partners and if you have a real love for these places across the West, you can do it. You can develop and launch campaigns to protect and connect landscapes, to protect rivers, and to address climate change.
And I think our work over these past years is just a testament to that.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller:
Yes, absolutely. Okay, so this is a fun question. What is your favorite place in the West that continually inspires you to do this work? And I feel like you’re probably going to say Colorado.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: I actually have two places and, and part of my answer is Colorado.
I have grown up in the West, and I love so much about virtually every part of the West, but there are a couple places that are a little bit nearer and a little bit dear to my heart, and one is the mountains of Colorado, but it’s not just one spot. I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time around Steamboat, which is a place that I really love, the mountains around Steamboat.
But I also, a couple of years ago, I walked across the Western part of the state from Denver to Durango, you know, nearly 500 miles, and there are just so many spectacular places of beauty and of deep solitude. You know, the mountains of Colorado are, are certainly very, very close to my heart. I like to spend as much time in them as I can, but I’ve also tried to spend as much time as I am able in the deserts of Utah, and I’ve been really fortunate, certainly to spend time in some of the great national parks that are there.
But I would say the places that I found the most inspiring are a little more isolated than that, and I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with my daughter in both Grand Staircase National Monument and in Bears Ears National Monument, where there are few people. There are these amazing desert canyons and kind of a profound connection to the past and to the importance of indigenous people and tribes and culture so I find those places incredibly inspiring.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah, I love that. I love when you can get out and you’re just like, what’s this dirt road? And you just follow it and there’s nobody around and you’re like, wow, when’s the last time anybody was here? You know, it’s, ugh. It’s so magic.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: It is a, a very different thing to be away and in wilderness, whether it’s desert, whether it’s mountains.
It just is a different feeling. And I, you know, I feel like. my best self when I’m [00:18:00] out there.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yes. Yeah. I truly feel like that too.
You’re the second person in a week that’s been like, you need to go to the deserts of Utah. I haven’t spent much time there, so it’s next on my list.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Yeah, pretty spectacular.
And I think, you know, very centrally located for you in Nevada, for us in Colorado, certainly people in New Mexico, so they’re not too, too far away in the scale of the West anyway and really just spectacular.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah. I’m excited for it. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and our love letters to the West Campaign, do you have any specific shoutouts you’d like to share?
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: I do. It’s more of my own love letter to the West than I would say just a specific shoutout. And so for me it’s the Colorado River. My love letter to the West is to the Colorado River, the river that brings the snow from the Rockies to the Gulf over 1200 miles away. It’s a river that we have altered over the course of the history of this country, and we’ve undertaken these audacious plans and feats of engineering that hold back the water of the river that’s allowed cities to grow and to flourish in the middle of the desert.
We have fought over the water of the river for, well, more than a century, governments have negotiated and made agreements in rooms in Washington dc , in Denver, and New Mexico and in Mexico, and they’ve divvied it up to ensure that every drop of the river is used before it ever arrives at the Delta. And those same governments have delayed and broken their agreements to the people and the nations who survive in part grace of the river long before white people ever set foot on these lands and the waters of the river, you know, flood fields that feed us, that bring summer vegetables in the winter that support wildlife and we sometimes use it so unwisely, we use it to water green lawns in office parks and even medians. Medians! And, it’s still a river and it’s home to species that exist nowhere else on earth. It’s a path from the highest mountains in the Rockies into the deepest of Red Rock canyons that have taken millions of years to make and the most, I guess grand Cathedral that our nation knows and. It’s these amazing and raucous rapids that give life to otters and mountain sheep and bears and bats and bald eagles and the great blue heron.
And for me, really it’s calm, slow miles floating in far away places that you can’t get to on a road that brings families and my family together in what I kind of see as true peace and happiness and I think we forget, I think in our very small, limited human understanding, we think that the Colorado River is just a system of pipes and buckets that delivers water from one place to another, to faraway cities or to farms and ranches, or to dams that deliver water.
I think we have forgotten. We’ve demanded too much.. We can’t do that anymore and we can’t continue to forget that it’s a river.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: That was a beautiful ode. I felt like I was in the waters of the Colorado River.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: It’s a special place. And I mean the rivers of the West are all special. Most of them feed into the Colorado.
It’s a place of great serenity, but it’s at risk and we have to do whatever it is it takes to protect it.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah. I worry about the West all the time, but you know, that’s why I’m here.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: You’re in the right place. Our job is to do something about it and we can,
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yeah.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: I think we, you know, have kind of run our course in terms of thinking of rivers as just there to provide for us, whether it’s for cities, whether it’s for farms and ranches, whether it’s for recreation without regard for what it does to, the health of the river, and all of the habitat and the wildlife that rely on the river. And my hope is that we’re kind of in this evolutionary phase where we’re really beginning to rethink what rivers are to us and how we protect them in ways that also allow us to flourish and to thrive across the West. I think we’re on the verge of that. I think people are really seeing the crisis on rivers in the West, and I think people are connected to these rivers and they want them to be healthy, vibrant, flowing rivers and not just a way that we move water around.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Yes. Seems like it, seems like everyone’s really clued in. Unfortunately, it’s taking extreme conditions to get some people to notice and respond, but that’s okay. We’ll make it work.
Jon Goldin-Dubois – WRA President: Yeah. One thing we all need to be thinking about is how do we take advantage of this crisis? You know, we’ve overused the water from the river. We’ve seen tremendous impacts from climate change. We see 20% less water in many of the rivers across the West right now. And I think the question for all of us, Will we step up and act? Will we take actions and demand that our elected leaders, and appointed leaders really begin to address this crisis at the scope and scale that it needs to be addressed so that we do have these vibrant, flowing rivers into the future? Our communities rely on them. Fish and wildlife rely on them. Agricultural relies on them. So let’s do what we need to do to protect the rivers of the West.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Thank you so much, Jon Goldin-Dubois for sharing those words of wisdom with us and all of your thoughts about the future. I’m really hopeful going forward that we can make the changes that we need to become a healthier West.
And now we’re going to go into our little love letters that have been sent to us from the WRA community, from some staff members, some board members and just some supporters who are out there and wanted to share what they love about the West. We have different staff members from WRA reading these, and I hope you’ll all enjoy them.
James Quirk – Senior Communications Officer: Hey, this is James Quirk from WRA, and I’m reading a love letter from Paul Skizinski.
“My first visit to the West was due to my assignment to Lowry Airbase in Colorado. I arrived on January 6th, 1965. The air was crisp and cool. The sky was blue. The snowcapped mountains were visible from the gate. During my training, I visited Garden of the Gods, Lookout Mountain, Seven Falls and Royal Gorge. I attended the stock show and tent camp in the snow near Blackhawk. I loved the scenery, fresh air, and friendly people. After my service and a BFA in photography, I returned to live in Colorado. Let’s keep our air and water clean.”
Joan Moses – Digital Engagement Manager :
Hey, I’m Joan Moses from WRA and I’m reading a love letter from Haley Fauntleroy.
“On August 8th, 2022, I wrote a love letter to water, but I didn’t know it at the time. Returning now to those words, it’s clear that my companionship with and necessity for water are reflections of my parents’ love. I will always fear an end to its source, both water and love, an excerpt from the poem.
Water doesn’t call or speak to me. It doesn’t acknowledge me when I arrive, but it knows my feet will bring me there because they always do. Like my father helping my mother unload the groceries when she comes home. A routine occurrence, but there’s magic.”
Jessica Gelay – Colorado Government Affairs Manager:
Hey, I’m Jessica Gelay from WRA and I’m reading a love letter from Tom Ribe.
“The Jemez volcano in Northern New Mexico belched out a pink plateau of volcanic ash that fingers over the Rio Grande as the river sneaks away from Colorado’s San Juan mountains for warmer country to the south. I can stand on the ash plateau and imagine millions of years of rocky upheaval that created this graceful sweep of valleys, snowy peaks and human stories layered before me.Watch those ducks far below arrowing over river rapids. See distant Colorado peaks peeking over the north horizon. Feel the decades of adventures here. My chosen enchanted corner of my beloved West.”
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing: Hi, I’m Haley Littleton from WRA and I’m reading a love letter from board member Carla Hamre Donelson.
“The lasting impact of gratitude. Take a breath offered by friendly wins. Give it back with gratitude. This is one of my favorite lines from Joy Harjo who served as the United States Poet Laureate and was the first Native American in this role.
Her point is that it’s not enough to merely to say thank you. We have to share what we’ve been given. We have to pass it on what we breathe in. We breathe out for the next person and the next generation to breathe in and breathe out. My father, who’s always been an avid outdoors person, recognized all the wisdom and guidance he’d gained from the natural world as part of his expression of gratitude for all he’d received from nature. He is passing it along to his children.
Severiano DeSoto – Western Lands Energy Siting Analyst
Hello, my name Severiano DeSoto. I am the Western Lands Energy Siting Policy Analyst with WRA, and this is my tiny love letter to the West. There really is nothing like standing at the top of a mountain and looking out as far as you can see. Endless pine forests covering jagged snowcapped peaks, shimmering patches of aspens glistening in the sun, tucked away meadows spotted with wildflowers. No matter how many miles of trails hiked or peaks summited, the vastness of the west always astonishes me. The opportunity to get lost in nature for an hour, a day, or even a week and still feel like there is so much more to experience is why I fell in love with the west. My endless adventure!
Jamie Starr – WRA Board Member
Hello, this is Jamie Starr from the Western Resorts Advocates Board of Directors. We’re having a great winter here in Utah where I live, and recently while out on a ski tour, I penned a little love letter. It goes as follows, when snow blankets the West, there’s no place I’d rather be. Jagged peaks smoothed over in white–an ideal setting for human powered movement through the wild landscape. Senses are both heightened and calmed. To be here is to escape, to process, to breathe, to appreciate… to tune in
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: Next, we have a love letter from Heather Tanana, A WRA board member.
“No matter where I am living, the West will always be my home. It’s the land that my family fought to protect. My uncle, Albert Smith, served as a Navajo code talker during World War II. When asked why he fought, he said: “I stand up for Mother Earth. She stands for my freedom. I can play dance, sing, and stand for life. I went to war because a foreign country wanted to take my Mother Earth, my freedom. Today, Mother Earth remains under attack. Climate change is threatening all aspects of our environment, our future, our freedom. Will you stand up with me?”
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller: I’m going to close this out by reading the last love letter to the West that we’re going to highlight on this episode. It’s from James Katzen.
“Why do I love the West? Well, first of all, because the West is the best. Of course, the real reason is the freedom, especially here in fabulous Las Vegas. Also, the horizon is unlimited. I am slightly claustrophobic. Out here, we don’t have to be constantly paranoid of being closed in. Stand on your car in the biggest city in the West and you can see sunsets unequal to most anywhere else.”
I thought it was pretty appropriate to read a letter from Nevada. Y’all know it’s my favorite Western state. And I want to take a second to just thank everybody who sent in their love letters. They really made our month. They are amazing. And we’ve included them in our quarterly newsletter, Field Notes, which you can always read on our website. Or if you are a donor, you’ll get a beautiful copy in the mail. And our graphic designer, Kandace, has really done such an amazing job with this edition. So definitely check it out. I also wanted to mention that we did another episode with Jon Goldin-Dubois back before my time. It’s called How Little Trail Magic Can Help us achieve our climate goals, and it’s a really great episode.I highly recommend it. It’s all about John Goldin-Dubois’s trip hiking the Colorado Trail, which he mentioned a little bit earlier and, and it’s filled with really great stories and moments, so definitely check that. It is wherever you find our podcast. So just go back and look for that episode from December, 2021.
Hope you like it.
All right. We like to wrap it up with a thank you to our sponsors. This episode is brought to you in part by our generous sponsors. We’d like to take a second to give an extra special thank you to our premier sponsor, Vision Ridge Partners, as well as our signature sponsors, BOS developments, Denver Water, First Bank, and Scarpa.
I would also like to recognize our supporting sponsors, BSW Wealth Partners, Great Outdoors Colorado, Meridian Public Affairs and Policy AZ. As always, thanks so much for supporting our podcast. Thank you all for listening. If you enjoyed this podcast, please make sure to follow us, to subscribe, leave us a review and help us get the word out so more people can learn about the West and our conservation efforts, and the efforts of all the other fine folks out here trying to make sure that the West stays healthy and is thriving.
As always, I’m your host, Jessi Janusee. And this has been Two Degrees Out West, a production from Western Resource Advocates. If you want to know more about Western Resource Advocates and support us, visit our website at Westernresourceadvocates.org and learn how you can help us fight climate change and protect the West.
Thank you so much, and I’ll see you guys next time, we’re going to be talking with Tahlia Bear about our Indigenous Peoples Program here at WRA. Thanks so much. Let’s keep the West wild, clean, and beautiful. Have a great day y’all.