Monday, November 21, 2016

Sunday Spotlight: Finding common ground on public lands

Grasslands on Tom and Mimi Sidwell’s JX Ranch, south of Tucumcari after brush removal. Tom Sidwell has used a method called Holistic Range Management for 40 years.
Sierra Club activist and Santa Fe author Courtney White stood on Jim Winder’s ranch in southern New Mexico back in 1997 and decided that maybe cows weren’t so bad for the environment if they were managed correctly. White and Winder, tired of the bitter battle between environmentalists and ranchers over grazing on public lands, were seeking common ground — a radical notion at the time. The two co-founded the Santa Fe-based Quivira Coalition to bring environmentalists, ranchers, scientists and land managers together to find ways to create healthy landscapes. The group’s members adopted the idea of the “radical center,” White said, a phrase coined by southern Arizona rancher Bill McDonald, who had worked with scientists and public land managers to restore grasslands in his area. Two decades later, as Republicans are about to take firm control of the federal government and a jury has absolved a group of armed states’-rights advocates who took over a wildlife refuge in Oregon and started a weekslong standoff with federal authorities, White thinks this radical center is needed more than ever. In a recent email about the launch of his new book project, Grassroots: The Rise of the Radical Center, White said, “Up and down the line, the radical center took a drubbing at the polls and I am deeply concerned that we are entering a period of destructive divisiveness.” Last year, White published a book on low-cost solutions to hunger, drought and climate change called Two Percent Solutions For the Planet. Now he’s hoping to publish the new book — a collection of essays tracing the rise of the radical center in the West and why it’s needed now — by raising $12,000 through a Kickstarter campaign. White left as the longtime director of the Quivira Coalition a couple of years ago to pursue his writing projects and to promote what he’s learned over the years from the conservation organization. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Petchesky Conservation Award from the New Mexico Land Conservancy in Santa Fe...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tom is an amazing conservationist. He was way ahead of most of us and remains in front still.