Environmental journalists (like me!) are accustomed to covering bad news: endangered species listings, harmful energy extraction projects, the never-ending acceleration of climate change, yada yada yada. Chronicling such doleful developments is vital, but it’s also kind of exhausting.
Another thing that gets a little stale: constantly interviewing older white men. Don’t get me wrong, we owe the entire conservation movement to older white men (Mssrs. Thoreau, Muir, Brower, Abbey, Soulé, McKibben, etcetera). If you’re an older white man reading this right now, do not think for one second that I take your contributions for granted. Virtually every protected and wild place in this great country was saved by the advocacy of older white men. I salute you!
Still and all, once in a while it’s nice to talk to someone in a different demographic. Combine that desire with the longing to occasionally cover something hopeful, and you get “10 Under 30: Young Leaders Who Are Changing the West,” my new profile series for High Country News. From Navajo environmental justice advocates to community organizers diversify the economies of warming mountain towns, in here you’ll meet ten young folks who are doing their damnedest to make the West a better place. This was a heck of a lot of fun to work on, and it’s generated lots of positive feedback from people who, like me, require the occasional pick-me-up. Thanks for reading.