It’s deep winter here in snowy Driggs, Idaho, where the bears have gone to sleep, and life quietly gestates beneath the snow in preparation for new life, new beginnings. Life springs eternal.
Here in tiny Driggs, more than 900 people participated in January’s global Women’s March, each contributing with their presence to a world-wide movement in support of social and environmental issues. And from here, I could see and feel the energy of all the women’s marches all over the world… women, men, and children sharing the same aspirations for a better future, in person and online, through the power of our global, interconnected age. We truly are all in it together. We can see it. We can feel it.
Thanks to your dedicated support, throughout all of 2016 Earthfire Institute has been preparing for a moment just such as this—a moment when all of us must come together to speak and act on behalf of all life on Earth. In 2016, we:
• Invested in a top-to-bottom redesign of the Earthfire web site, upgrading it from a conventional web site into a new, online community for anyone around the globe who is interested in forging a new way of relating to nature that brings us joy; includes all living beings; and is ultimately sustainable.
• Launched a robust social media outreach plan to connect with people who care about our living Earth and its beautiful wild creatures, but don’t know what they, as individuals, can do to protect and care for them. By coming together online in council with the wild animals of Earthfire, we reconnect with our innate joy of living in harmony in nature. And that inspires us to undertake wise and practical action to sustain life for all living beings on Earth.
• Developed “Conservation Conversations,” a series of live discussions that will take place online and at various locations around the US in 2017. This discussion series will give people the opportunity to come together face-to-face with Earthfire experts and each other to learn what we can do together to make a difference for all life on the planet. Our online community site has been outfitted with video conferencing technology for this purpose, and our close friends are enthusiastically helping us stage in-person events to introduce Earthfire to new communities of potential supporters and advocates.
• Hired new senior staff to help Earthfire realize its vision of helping people change the way they see, and therefore treat, wildlife and the natural world. Our chief hire is Outreach Director Deb Matlock, a professional environmental educator, naturalist, shamanic practitioner, and animal communicator whose work designing and evaluating environmental programming has been presented nationally and internationally. Deb is past president of the board of directors for the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education.
• Took our initial steps toward becoming a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility, working in partnership with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to house and rehabilitate a family of beavers who needed to be relocated. Since our inception, we have been a place where wild animals could find refuge. And we’ve also been a living laboratory to explore how mindful interaction between wild animals and human beings could shift human perception and thinking about the value of all life and the imperative to take responsible measures to preserve it. This new chapter in our work continues and builds upon this legacy.
None of this could have happened without your support.
Although we have been in operation for more than 16 years, in some important sense our work is just beginning. 2017 brings some enormous challenges, but also great opportunity. We look forward to coming together in council with you and the wild animals of Earthfire to discover together what we can do to make environmental and spiritual renewal a reality in our lifetimes.
Together, we will find a new way of living on the Earth.