The Premise: The coalition of stakeholders working to protect our public lands has the potential to become a movement. Youth engagement proponents, outdoor recreationists, land managers, and conservation advocates will realize their greatest opportunities for effectiveness when they address issues of common concern with a unified voice. Working together to achieve shared objectives, their ability to champion our public lands in a time of unprecedented threat is extraordinary.
The Problem: The greatest threat to the movement’s success is its fragmentation. Compartmentalization of work, replication of effort, lack of communication between principals, and conflict between natural allies are just a few of the challenges that conspire against a united whole.
The Solution: SHIFT (Shaping How we Invest For Tomorrow) unites natural allies around the common goal of protecting our public lands. By providing a unified framework for stewardship, we increase the effectiveness of our common efforts.
FOCUSING THE MOVEMENT An outline of our efforts for 2016:
SHIFT’s efforts are informed by the Principles for Outdoor Recreation and Conservation: six Principles that outdoor recreationists, conservationists and land managers have advanced to increase success in the protection of our public lands, waters and wildlife.
Specifically, SHIFT advocates that stakeholders:
COALITION CONSTITUENTS The following stakeholder groups are the key allies we bring to the table:
Do we love the activity, or the place in which it occurs? Avid users of our public lands offer unrealized potential for their stewardship precisely because they are an impassioned constituency—but if the desires of individual users trump the needs of the place, the tragedy of the commons is realized and the legacy of John Muir imperiled.
Media frames the conversation in the public mind. Together with the Outdoor Blogger Summit, we help insure that the outdoor media is engaged and well-informed—both critical components to balanced and fair portrayals of the conservation/recreation agenda.
The Outdoor Industry
The American outdoor economy represents a $646B/year industry. As this “sleeping dragon” of the American economic engine awakens, it must develop the customer bases of tomorrow while reinvigorating the protection of our natural resources. After all, those same resources comprise the foundation of its success.
Grassroots organizations that leverage outdoor recreation for conservation gains can be remarkably effective in their own backyards and yet lack the sophistication to attract the recognition they deserve. By connecting their leaders, we strengthen the network of on-the-ground solutions addressing resource issues in communities across America.
As often as not, the single biggest challenge facing nonprofits is funding. We vet NGOs on the basis of their impact, innovation and replicability, and bring the best of them to SHIFT to meet with individuals, foundations and networks that can help advance their work.
Youth Engagement Leaders
The future of our public lands depends on a robust constituency of diverse young champions that accurately reflect the demographical constitution of the country. We create tracks that let tomorrow’s leaders step inside the conversation and help guide it alongside veterans in the outdoor rec, land management and conservation communities.
Traditional conservation organizations built the historical foundation of the environmental movement, but aging memberships and homogeneous demographics threaten their efficacy. By connecting their institutional knowledge and resources with the energy and perspectives of tomorrow’s leaders, we enhance the effectiveness of both.
Public Land Managers And Policy Makers
In the face of inadequate funding and political instability, creative management solutions that engage a diversity of stakeholders are essential for the successful management of our public lands and waters. We invite city, county, state and federal resource planners, managers, researchers, and administrators to address common issues that affect access to and use of our natural resources.
Our Advisory Council
Our efforts are informed by individuals from the various stakeholder groups as follows:
Youth Engagement & DEI
Federal Land Management
The above framework is intended to enhance and support our strategic planning for 2016, more details of which may be found here. We welcome your feedback and ideas for improvement. Please reach out directly to Christian Beckwith at cb AT shifjh.org with your comments, critiques and suggestions.