an urgent note from one of America’s top restoration ecologists

UPDATE to add: The Society for Ecological Restoration has released a statement, ” SER stands united with those demonstrating peacefully to speak out against racism and injustice wherever they occur. Ecological restoration cannot be implemented without inclusion…” (full statement here).

Please read this latest brief reflection by Steve Glass, an ecological restoration practitioner and researcher in Wisconsin: “America In Crisis–It’s Worse Than You Think: What Can Ecological Restoration Do About It?”

Steve is a colleague whom I’ve interacted with for several years at conferences. By design, our discipline is values-based. So professional bonds are strong.

I consider Steve a friend and ally in our fight for a habitable planet, an a mentor in our discipline. He’s smart, gracious, and his writing is on-point. His reflections recently have cut through the layers of careful, hesitant words that most of us use in the day-to-day. Let’s be honest… we have jobs we want to protect, and institutions, and key relationships. Social mores are a function of all human societies, but they can often stand in the way of justice.

Steve’s growing urgency comes from years of accumulated experience & insight, and (I speculate) his tiring of having to watch the world suffer from wound after wound as we all dither, placating calls for justice with empty symbolism.

Without racial justice, social justice, and environmental justice, attempts at ecological restoration are meaningless, irrelevant, and futile…”

The idea that we can play safely off to the side without respect to political movements is a happy thought, but one that originates in privilege. We can ignore it (for a time), but our neighbors have the boot on their neck. And ultimately, it is an illusion. We drink from the same aquifer, we breathe the same air. We will only flourish or perish together.

I can think of no better imagery of this synthesis than that spoken by the prophet Amos: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

3 Replies to “an urgent note from one of America’s top restoration ecologists”

  1. Steve Glass

    Adam, thank you for your thoughts on this issue and your important contributions to this discussion, a discussion that we must continue to engage in. And, yes, I am fed up with “the world suffering wound after wound”

  2. Mary

    Many kinds of privilege to be aware of, is it not so? Thank you, Adam, for your ethic and “preferential option for the “poor” mindset.

  3. Pingback: “Endorsing An Ecological Restoration Mission to Restore Social, Racial, and Environmental Justice” – Ecological Relationships

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