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                                       politics + culture

Thursday, August 18, 2005

environmentalist heroes

The folks behind our parks and greenways are often unsung.

Here in the Bay Area, our seventy-year-old East Bay Regional Park system is the direct legacy of turn of the century environmentalists and activists who fought to preserve land for common use. It is also the largest, and one of the most beautiful, urban park systems in the nation.

When we head up to the hills to hike at Redwood or Tilden or Sibley Park...we enjoy the legacy of this activism. It's a resource available to every single citizen in perpetuity. Lined with parks and greenland and nature reserves, you could also say that the entire Bay Area, with its initial investment in land reserved for nature and for public use....made a good investment.

You won't hear current day conservatives talk like this though. Even if, in their communities, they too enjoy the legacy of those "muddy boot" nature-loving greens. Even if the "green" with the mud on his boots was a member of their party.

You may be fighting to get a dog walk...or to preserve open space land...or to create a greenway. Wherever you are, and no matter how small your contribution seems, if you are a community activist fighting to preserve open space and protect the environment, you are a hero in my book.

Think of it this way. People someday will thank you as they enjoy a beautiful day in the park, even if they don't know your name.

They may also, in part, have you to thank for the prosperity and economic health of your community. That's no small legacy.

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