Nearly fifteen years ago, WildEarth Guardians set out on two uncertain journeys—one to connect fragmented wildlands throughout the American West and the other to make the world a more compassionate place for wildlife.
Finally, after years of struggle and doubt, this past year we arrived at our destination, first when we banned traps, snares, and poisons on New Mexico public lands and then when we convinced Congress to fund the Legacy Roads and Trails program, whose central aim it is to repair and rewild America’s national forests.
Now, when fragmented national forest watersheds and wildlands need be stitched back together, the Forest Service has the sustained funding—and hopefully too the leadership—to do so.
Now, when a Mexican gray wolf, bobcat, swift fox, coyote, or a family companion animal traverses public lands in New Mexico they—and we—can be assured that they won’t suffer for days with a paw ensnared in a steel trap.
These two campaign victories are among the many accomplishments and highlights in our 2021 annual report, which I hope you’ll take the time to read and find inspiration in it.
Connection and compassion, two core Guardians values, sustained us throughout the many moments of doubt and uncertainty when we wondered and worried whether our vision—and these two vital campaigns—would come to fruition.
But patient, persistent engagement on the part of our staff and thousands of member-activists scattered all across the country carried us through. For that I am grateful.
Of course, these are not the only journeys we’re embarked on. There are many others, including our relentless campaign to bring an end to fossil fuel extraction on public lands, which achieved new heights in 2022—both in the courts and with the Biden administration.
The work of a Guardian is always urgent. That’s because there is so much injustice to fight, so many coalitions to build, and still so much beauty and fragility to protect and nurture.
Whether it’s the blood of wolves being spilled in the northern Rockies, or Greater Chaco’s sacred ground being threatened by drill rigs throughout 2021, Guardians stood up for the vulnerable to protect what is in the common good. Because the common good is our common ground.
The work of creating a more compassionate and connected world is more critical than ever. I am confident that our 2021 successes create an even stronger foundation and belief for the campaigns that continue and the campaigns that begin anew. We will be unrelenting in our work.
As our journey continues, I hope you’ll both join us and support us along the way.