Walking for Wilderness
I feel like a frog in a pot of swiftly heating water. I can see the coming dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, but I have no idea how to extinguish the flame under the pot, and most everyone else is acting like it’s no big thing. So here I sit, seasoning myself with red wine and salty snacks, waiting to boil. I don’t want to boil, but I have absolutely no idea how to stop it.
Attending to my daily wants and needs has allowed me to excuse myself for not acting more radically on these issues for so long. That’s not unique, of course. It’s challenging to confront a crisis this hard to see on a daily basis, especially with the very visible daily grind of modern life to compete with. Letting the pressing and immediate issues, miniscule though they may be, take precedence over the need for action on the slow motion train wreck that is our planet is how we got here.
In the same way that I feel my own life pushing these concerns to the side because they feel overwhelming, I’m sure that many reading this feel the same way. The inertia of everyday life is steamrolling us into a dangerous complacency. But after the UN released a report last month that warned that human actions now “threaten more species with extinction than ever before,” I realized I don’t want to be one of the frogs that sits in the pot and just watches this happen. This dangerous complacency is no longer an option; every day of inaction is leading us to a worse outcome for the planet.
I know I can’t stop it alone, but nor can I sit still and watch it happen. At the very least I want to be one of the jumpy frogs, freaking out, sloshing in the pot and fighting this with everything I’ve got in my little froggy arsenal. So to prove to you how committed I am, how much I believe in big and dramatic action to prevent climate catastrophe and biodiversity loss, I’m going to take a big dramatic action myself. Though much like a frog, basically the only thing in my arsenal is a strong pair of legs.
So I’m going to walk – 55 miles to be exact – from Montpelier to Bridgewater, to a BioBlitz project happening there on a proposed wilderness preserve being spearheaded by the Northeast Wilderness Trust.
I am doing it because I believe in the solution that it represents. Science is finally shedding some peer-reviewed light on a hunch many of us have had for long time: old and wild forests are worth conserving. Why? Because the path to averting complete climate chaos can be aided by increased protection of wild lands as laid out in a paper published in Science Advances this April. Because a study completed in 2014 found that the largest and oldest trees, like those found in wilderness, may sequester as much carbon in one year as growing an entire medium-sized tree. Because there is no such thing as “over mature” forest. Because while saving this one property won’t save the planet, it will save the world of the plants and animals, large and small, that call this piece of woods home.
I’m doing this because I believe with all my heart that conserving land as wilderness helps us make real and meaningful strides in addressing the defining dual crises of our time. Old forests store more carbon than young forests, and are our best hope for preserving biodiversity. Wilderness is just a small part of what will need to be a many-pronged solution, but it’s a part that I have some control over.
You don’t have to walk 55-miles, but you are in the same boiling pot as I am. If you would like to sponsor me on my walk, you can do so in the box below. 100% of the money raised will go directly toward conserving the Bridgewater Hollow Bramhall Preserve. You can give by the mile, or just make a donation in any amount you wish. I will be contributing $2/mile myself, and I invite you to join me. If we all work together, enough frogs can turn down the heat.
For the Wild,