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A message for the New Year

Happy New Year! Welcome 2020! It’s the start of a new decade, and hopefully, an opportunity for all of us to take some time to reflect and reset. Before we get too far into the new year, let’s take the time to look up from our work, take stock, and set new commitments. I’m sharing my 2020 commitments here with you, which you may find helpful, and as part of my accountability to you. I have been thinking about what I can do differently in 2020 on each of three levels: individually, organizationally at TREC, and in service of the larger environmental community.

For me, individually in 2020, I am committed to listening and staying curious. My life is full with family, friends, and work that I love. And at times, I can move through it all too fast. Some of you may share this tendency. With that speed, I can fall into making quick judgments and assumptions which means that I sometimes miss communication and connection. In 2020 and beyond, I want to make time in conversations to listen more deeply, to ask more questions, and to seek to understand at a deeper level.

For me, it also looks like embracing that there is no one right way. There are multiple perspectives and approaches, and being curious and exploring those will enrich and change me. It will take initiative on my part to get out of my bubble, and have a deeper connection with those who have a different lived experience than me. Given the polarized world we live in, it takes increased intention and effort to remain curious and open-minded with people who share a different perspective on issues that I care about. There’s no better time than 2020 to get out of the bubble; who’s with me on this?

As far as my commitment for TREC, I want us to continue to listen and adapt. We’ve never been ones to rest on our laurels. We plan, innovate, evaluate, and innovate some more. We have the privilege to do this innovation because of our sustaining funding from Wilburforce Foundation for which we are so grateful. And, it is the greatest honor of all to be able to do our work in service of you and your work. In 2020, we face new challenges and opportunities in our environmental and conservation work. All of us at TREC stand at-the-ready to support you.

TREC is listening. Listening for your needs, your fresh thinking, and your hopes for the future. I am committed to taking in what we hear from you and working with the TREC team to adapt our approaches, programs and, services. I want TREC to be as effective as we can be at helping you to move past sticking points, to build new pathways, and to move towards your vision.

For the environmental community in 2020, I am committed to listen for hope and possibility and share that back to you all. We’ve had more setbacks than victories in recent years. And, it is beyond the specific rollbacks to laws and protections, we see more divisiveness, and less democracy and decorum. At the same time, the stakes are higher from the existential threat of climate chaos. But here’s what I see. Even in the face of climate despair, you all continue to work tirelessly. That’s what gives me hope.

The only explanation I have for why we persist, hope, and dream, against such great odds and powerful forces, is that our work is an act of love. Love for humankind, animals and the planet, along with our love and commitment to each other. I see it every day, in you and in your work. So what I can do in 2020 is reflect that back with you, so that all of you know that you are not alone. You are amongst dreamers and fighters. We can move forward together, standing shoulder to shoulder, and that’s why we can claim hopefulness in spite of it all.

As we start a new year and a new decade, what do you want to claim for yourselves and your work? What are your 2020 commitments? Do any of you want to join me in making commitments around listening, curiosity, and hopefulness?

Background Image: American Rivers | Scott Bosse

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