The Big “A” Word: Advocacy

Sigh – what a relief. That’s how I felt when I found out Joe Biden won the presidential election. I literally felt this heavy weight lift off of my shoulders like at least half of the country’s. It’s a bittersweet victory because we all know there’s still so much work that needs to be done.

From weeks leading up to the election and after, I couldn’t help but come back to the word ‘advocacy’. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, advocacy means “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal”. With so many important causes to support, I’ve narrowed mine down to the environment and outdoors. No surprise that these last four years have been detrimental for the environmental movement. Here’s just some of the many, many, many actions Trump and his administration have taken towards the environment from Forbes:

  • Pulled U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement
  • Defunded the EPA
  • Loosened restrictions on air and water pollution
  • Relaxed protections on threatened species to benefit mining and drilling
  • Downsized public lands (how could we forget Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante) for -shocker- oil and drilling
  • Stripped protections from Alaska’s Tongass National Forest
  • In total successfully reversed over 70 environmental rules

And we’ll stop there for now.

As I continue to grow, learn, and unlearn, I’ve come to realize the importance of advocating for something and getting involved. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m tired of people taking advantage of others and living in an unjust, inequitable, selfish world. Literally it’s now or never, find something you care about and get involved. You can’t complain about what’s going on if you’re not doing anything about it yourself. And yes, it goes beyond just posting a graphic on your Instagram story or reposting others. Let’s work together and get our sh*t together!

Recently, I’ve become more involved in the outdoor advocacy space. After years of educating myself, being a good steward, and complaining how much I hate people ruining our natural spaces (I know I’m not the only one lol), it was time for me to take action and responsibility. I’ve been reworking my relationship with social media and am working with the amazing Katie Boué, founder of the Outdoor Advocacy Project, outside of my 9-5 job. I truly believe that as outdoorists, we have the responsibility to care and fight for our public lands and all the issues that surrounds them. From public comments to petitions to spamming social media to writing on Tinycaravan (whoop! whoop!), it’s all about using our voices to speak up and be heard because these issues deserve attention.

We all have the ability to do incredible things. It’s amazing how much determination, passion, and heart can take you. Use your individual actions to spark collective action. Create impact by:

  • sharing your knowledge and resources
  • educating yourself and others
  • showing up
  • speaking up
  • listening
  • voting in local, midterm, and presidential elections
  • campaigning
  • calling politicians and holding them accountable

and much much more.

Let’s put integrity back into the word ‘democracy’ and let our voices be heard. So friends, I challenge you to advocate for a cause. Ask yourself, ‘why’ and ‘how’. It’s impossible to care for them all, so choose what impacts you most and makes your heart irk or sing. There’s so much resources out there, a simple Google search will get you to the right place in getting started.

I don’t know about y’all, but with a Biden presidency and our generation, I feel hopeful for our future. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but knowing that there are others like me that care and demanding change, that gives me hope. I know it can be hard at times, but now is not the time to give up. Be an advocate and fight on! Know you’re not alone in this fight.

Your friend,

Vivian

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