Letter to Editor: In Divided Times, Let’s Look to Land to Unite Us



In a recent New York Times Op-Ed, titled “This American Land”, columnist David Brooks said, “We’re living in the middle of a national crisis of solidarity – rising racial bitterness, pervasive distrust, political dysfunction.” In the month and a half since the piece was published, the country has faced multiple natural disasters, greater racial disharmony and a rise in senseless violence.

When things seem so bleak, what remedies are around to unite people, to bring about a consciousness of plurality, or to provide a simple calm in a seemingly endless storm?

Brooks concedes that when he asks Americans as to what percentage of our problems can be solved through policy and politics, indeed, most folks think these problems are “pre-political” – so entrenched that the remedies require systematic attention and scrutiny.

That may be true. And in fact there might not be a panacea, but we do know is that land and nature have markedly positive mental, emotional, physical, and societal impacts.

As John Muir once said, “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

Certainly, land hasn’t always been a uniting force. In fact, we have a past where North American land – and those who controlled it – used it as a tool of great division, separation, and pain. Today, we are blessed to live, work, and play in a region that has vast amounts of open space, but much more can be done to create stronger communities – ones where there is more public access to natural resources, enhanced trails and connectivity, greater access to nutritious foods, and more.

To learn how Maryland’s conservation efforts are evolving and how land can be a force for good in your community, please join us on November 9th at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, for our 18th Annual Planning Conference, “Conservation Saves the World: Using Land to Unite”.

We will be joined by dozens of regional and national speakers, including: National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O’Mara; the legendary author, facilitator, and consultant, Peter Forbes; and renowned author, Tony Hiss. Early Bird tickets are currently on sale for $45 and this event is expected to sell out.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit here

Josh Hastings
Policy Manager
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy


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