by Emily McGinty, ’06, ’07
We are the stories. We’ve been to Denali, Acadia, Rainier, and Yosemite. We’ve hiked along the Appalachian Trail, gone swimming in the Mississippi, and trekked the deserts of the American Southwest. Our boots have clocked in thousands of miles and our souls have gathered millions of memories out in the field.
At SCA’s EarthVision, hundreds of these personal paths and stories met at the 4-H center in Washington, D.C., where the electrifying subculture of SCA convened for a revolutionary conservation experience.
Just like the rivers we clean and trails we maintain, the conference was a magnificent network; like predators, SCA-ers hunted down former crew members, displaying exceptional enthusiasm in rekindling memories of coveted national lands. Even before EarthVision, we knew that these moments were the brainchild of one of humanity and conservation’s extraordinary friends, Elizabeth Titus Putnam. EarthVision gave me the chance to look into the eyes of change, as Liz made it a point to converse with hundreds of youth over the four days. She completed the task through mealtime discussions or personal encounters amidst lopping duties on the service day. I was fortunate to share a unique and powerful moment with Liz at the National Museum of the American Indian, where we conversed among the beauty and spirituality of Indian artwork. It was during this moment that I realized why I was at EarthVision: to thank Liz for my world and to show her and others that I know, in the spirit of SCA, ‘there is work to be done’.
As a student, I came home from EarthVision assured of our capability to further Liz’s work. I came home empowered by the notion that together, students create amazing change. At EarthVision, it was we, the youth, who gathered nightly of our own accord to discuss matters of human and environmental suffering in the world. It is we, the youth, who believe in the strength of high ideals, and who recognize the imperative nature of our actions. It is we, the youth, who, after EarthVision, have networked plans of action. Through EarthVision I am engaged in campus efforts from Seattle to New York, working and sharing ideas of conservation programs and campaigns. We are the youth, brought up with a love for the natural world and brought together by SCA for a four day revolution.
I left EarthVision inspired; as a student, it was an immense privilege to meet members of the Department of the Interior, to converse with professors from esteemed universities, and to listen to expert scientific opinion on climate change. When it comes down it, though, it’s not impressive titles that made the impact. A student even remarked, “Secretary Kempthorne is a guy in cargo pants, like us.” Indeed, it is not merely about names or gear (even our favorite yellow hard hats); the summit taught us that SCA is about an interconnected body of inspired, prepared conservationists. EarthVision could not have been named more appropriately. As youth brought together to create our vision for the world, we left convinced that indeed, “we are the ones we've been waiting for.”
Photo: Emily talks with Keynote speaker Billy Parish at EarthVision.