The Power in Speaking Up Together

Renee Patrick

Author: Lace Thornberg | Published: June 14, 2022 | Category: In the News 

Anyone who cares about climate change, biodiversity loss and other environmental issues will at times feel overwhelmed. When you feel like you are shouting into the wind, it can be reassuring to know that you are not alone. In your community, in your state, across the country, and around the world, many people care just as deeply about these issues as you do. 

We know this thanks to the people who are willing to join conservation organizations like ONDA, write letters to the editor, testify before Congress, and share their stories publicly in various ways. 

Sharing your environmental concerns and values publicly involves some vulnerability for everyone, but, for some of us, putting ourselves out there as conservationists also comes mixed with an extra layer of identity politics to overcome. 

As Emmeline Wang describes, in Tread Lightly, “If preserving the lands we love is of the utmost importance, staying silent and working as individuals is not an option. There are a multitude of systemic injustices, acts of violence and events that engender fear inside me as an Asian-American woman, but if stewardship stands at the forefront of immediate priorities, it’s time to stand up.”

This month, as we celebrate Pride and Juneteenth, we want to focus on sharing some inspiring stories about and by LGBTQIA+ and Black environmentalists who are working hard to see that the natural world is protected and preserved and can be enjoyed by everyone. 




We hope the commitment, bravery, joy and perseverance reflected in these stories inspires you to be a strong advocate for the desert public lands you love.


Carl Axelsen, member since 1999

Carl Axelsen, member since 1999

You folks at ONDA really have your stuff together. Such a well-planned opportunity to comment, since figuring out how to connect with the gummint is off-putting. You make it work for me.


Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

“Protecting public land is part of my spiritual being. It’s central to my identity to be in wilderness and to see it protected.” Durlin is proud to protect public lands for future generations, saying, “The highlight of my childhood was our family’s weekend outdoor trips. I look forward to my grandchildren having similar experiences outside in their lifetimes, and it wouldn’t be possible without ONDA.”


Oregon’s first desert wilderness

Oregon’s first desert wilderness

Steens Mountain: Oregon’s first desert wilderness

On October 30, 2000, Congress passed the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act, finishing the work that had taken ONDA and the other members of the Steens-Alvord Coalition decades  

Steens Mountain is a land of startling contrasts: dramatic u-shaped

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