Nov 18, 2021
Proper land use and natural resource management on public lands is a mechanism to foster greater planetary stability. Joining as guest of episode 101 is the President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, Will Shafroth. Throughout the 45 minute conversation we explore how exposure, experience and immersion into the US National Parks changes mindsets for the better. We hear how enlightenment, empathy and environmental consciousness is presented each and every year to over 330 million visitors in 423 National Parks. Spanning all 50 states, the parks encompass 84 million acres, 2400 historical sites, 17K miles of trails and 43K miles of shoreline, and are available to us all as a public service.
Wallace Stegner famously called the National Parks “America’s Best Idea”. Will Shafroth and his team at the National Park Foundation (NPF) believe that this best idea should be common grounds available to each and everyone no matter background or history. Under Shafroth’s leadership, the National Park Foundation has spawned numerous initiatives to foster inclusion for all audiences and to cater to those who have been often overlooked in previous generations of visitors. Owning “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” of National Parks and US History, Shafroth looks to the wide array of Parks, Sites and Monuments as learning laboratories and living classrooms that will progress social and environmental solutions for decades to come.
The vast majority of the National Parks remain untouched wilderness. This wilderness combined with smart land use and proper natural resource management will help stabilize a planet under threat by coming at a new world from a few different angles. Not only will these public lands (with a collective footprint about the size of Montana) clean water, sequester & bank carbon, and nurture biodiversity, but the National Parks offer these living classrooms for deeper understanding and appreciation for the all important Nature-Based Solutions to climate change. Ultimately, reconnecting more of us with natural order is a required next step in (climate) action to mitigate climate change.
In feeding our souls by reconnecting us with Nature and with each other, the public lands of our National Parks can teach us about who we were, who we are now, and what we can become if we strive for a more just and balanced future.