Converging the Conservation & Social Justice Movements: From Imagination to Implementation

“Let your hearts and minds flow to convergence; to mixed flocks of shorebirds, sandpipers, and plovers, urgently purposeful, moving in one grand vector toward some better place. Then imagine the same for humanity—difference-makers of variable plumage coming together under a sky of common cause with urgent tailwinds of change moving us forward. What if?” – Dr. J. Drew Lanham, from “A Convergent Imagining” in Emergence Magazine

My 2021 Phenology Calendar says that the Sandhill Cranes should be arriving right about now, but as I look out at a thick blanket of snow and frigid temperatures I hope they don’t jump on a southern tailwind too soon for their northward migration. The long haul of both COVID and the COLD has me anxiously awaiting their return, perhaps as their trumpet would herald in the return of spring weather, but also that it might help herald in the return of some normalcy after nearly twelve months of social distancing, health scares, and the loss of many loved ones.

Over the last year, many loved ones were lost to COVID-19, but we also saw loved ones lost to hate and violence, starkly revealing racial injustices that will require—as Dr. Lanham has vividly described in his recent essay “A Convergent Imagining”—a convergence of hearts, minds, talent, energy, investment, and commitment to building an ethic of care that encompasses all people and all places.

I’ve been astounded by the resilience of our “thinking community” over the last year as Leopold Foundation staff, board, supporters, friends, and colleagues have worked tirelessly to navigate these uncharted waters, adapting our work of addressing the climate crises in the midst of health and economic crises and challenging ourselves to step up and into the race crises. This intersectionality of social, ecological, and economic crises stands in front of us and calls on us all to rise to the challenges of today on behalf of a tomorrow for all.

As part of our own internal work at the Aldo Leopold Foundation to become allies and advocates for converging the conservation and social justice movements, we are engaging, listening to, and learning from friends and colleagues. This March, we are very excited and humbled to use the energy and engagement created during our annual Leopold Week celebration (March 5-14, 2021) to amplify these insightful and inspirational voices, stories, and perspectives with our larger “thinking community” through the Building an Ethic of Care speaker series.

I encourage you to take in as much of the programming as you can this week to gather new information and insights and almost certainly to get re-inspired to continue in whatever way you can this convergence for positive change.

This work, your work—our work—is needed now more than ever, so thank you for all you’ve done, all you are doing, and all you will continue to do to build an ethic of care for all.

Buddy Huffaker signature
Buddy Huffaker
Executive Director


We invite you to join the convergent imagining of a more caring and inclusive land ethic by viewing and sharing the Building an Ethic of Care speaker series program recordings with others in your “thinking community.”