The following is a guest blog post from our friend Jamie Pleune, an environmental lawyer and lead organizer for a powerfully symbolic event that will begin on 10/10/10:

“Hope is an action not an emotion.”  A rabbi spoke these words in the sweltering heat, standing on a patch of lawn near the Capitol.  His voice, hoarse with age, shook with emotion as he spoke to the small crowd—proxies for the desired audience—Congress.  Hope is hard to come by these days.  We are living in a time of existential crisis.  Even though the consequences of climate change threaten the lives and safety of millions of people around the world, our leaders refuse to act to curb our national patterns of indulgence.  In this political environment of denial, I struggle to find hope, so I was glad to hear of it described as an action.  But, if hope is an action, what kind of action does it entail? 

The science is clear, if we want to preserve life as we have known it on this earth, we must reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere to 350 parts per million.  To accomplish this reduction, we must voluntarily walk away from the economic, social, and political patterns that dominate our lives in the United States.  The only way to tackle such a monumental journey is one step at a time.

To symbolize this epic journey, and to urge our political leaders to “get to work” on addressing climate change, we celebrate 10/10/10 by beginning a 350 mile walk through Utah.  Beginning in the oil and gas fields of Vernal, Utah, we will walk away from this extractive landscape through some of Utah’s beautiful and unprotected wilderness quality landscapes.  Every mile of this journey will be both personal and political.  At the end of each mile, we will take a picture that will become a postcard urging our political leaders to act immediately to address climate change.    

FDR purportedly once said to some social activists who had convinced him of the merit of their reform ideas, “Fine, you’ve convinced me, now go bring the pressure.”  We hope that our walk and our letter writing campaign will join the actions of thousands of others around the world to “bring the pressure” on our politicians.  Like small tributaries that trickle down mountains, congregate in valleys, and eventually meet the ocean with the pressure and force of the Mississippi, we hope that our individual action will join with the myriad of individual actions around the world in a constant trickle of public pressure flowing into the halls of power so steadily that eventually the seams burst, exposing politicians and agency bureaucrats to the enormity of the challenge facing us all.  Perhaps then, we will begin to see some action that will give us reason to hope. 

To get involved with our 350 miles: 350 postcards project, or to contact us visit www.thewildernessproject.com.

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