President Trump’s April 26th Executive Order requires a review of national monuments dating back to 1996. Our time to influence this review is coming to an end. Bears Ears National Monument comments are closed on May 26, all others on July 10th. This is a closing opportunity to tell our government our values.
Some of you feel helpless in today's political climate. Will this really make a difference?
All comments go on public record. The Department of Interior must take into account the balance of "yeas" to "neys". If the department's decision goes against our wishes the process will almost certainly lock up in legal battles. The result of those battles will be heavily influenced by our input. Leaving comments and opinions creates a vital paper trail for the courts.
What if I'm a Trump supporter and want to stay loyal to my leader?
Trump's order puts national monuments under review, which means he's asking: How much do you care? The best way you can support your president is to give him an honest answer to his question.
Big oil is answering the question. They are submitting these forms right now. Corporations view the world in terms of growth and profit. That's simply the nature of the beast. A shark is designed to eat without regard for the seal's feelings. A corporation wants to grow without regard for the value of tranquility, recreation, or natural beauty. If we value these things as individuals we must exercise our political power to protect them.
What if you came home to find someone carving out a piece of your lawn for a project that would pay you zero money? That's exactly the nature of this looming threat. National monuments are your land. You can't grab your shotgun, but you can fill out this form.
But.. They probably just want a teeny tiny slice of land.
The promise of protecting national monuments is a promise of forever. That's how the Antiquities Act was designed. That promise is broken if a piece of land is forfeited. With this precedent it will become easier to lose more and more of our land to industry exploitation.
We can put flags on our cars, and sing the national anthem with pride at the big game; but there is nothing more patriotic than defending the land. It's where the rubber meets the road.
For every Republican, Democrat, or Independent there must be a serene place that we cherish: A favorite fishing spot where we bond with good friends, that epic hike which provided new perspective, or the camping trip that crowns the memory of a great romance.
Some of my life's best moments happened on land which is now in danger. Join me to protect these spaces. Now is the time to act.
Send THIS FORM (with an adjustable letter provided by an action committee)
Or fill out THIS FORM (from the official government site)
Make your voice heard. Defend your land.
P.S. Here is my letter to the Secretary of the Interior:
Protect Our National Monuments
Dear Secretary Zinke,
I officially oppose any concession of Bears Ears or our other national monuments. I believe Teddy R. would agree that the promise to protect these lands is a promise of forever. A forfeit of even an acre breaks that promise and sets a dangerous precedent to carve out more and more of our protected land.
These spaces have been valuable to my mental well being and enjoyment of life, and have inspired thousands who have seen them on our show Road Less Traveled.
These historic sites represent a crucial part of our American heritage – they protect Native American sacred ground, preserve areas of historic and scientific value, and drive local economies with opportunities for recreation and tourism.
The authority given by the Antiquities Act is well-tested and clear, and the process by which each of these 27 monuments was designated included significant local input in conjunction with a broad view of our shared national interests. President Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act in 1906 to protect our shared American landscape from corporate looting.
I urge you to protect and preserve our nation’s national monuments from any changes.
New travelers often make the same error as young bucks: They put too much value on the count. Months later, what is left from that quick night with Jennifer or blazing through Italy in five days? Both were better than staying home, but an opportunity lost to go deeper.
The era of social media and cheap HD cameras has exacerbated this old traveler pitfall. Destinations are now edited down to highlight reels. Production teams, eager to push out content, fall into the same ruts that steer the banana-pancake backpackers: Laos becomes a drunken float tour and waterfalls, the Philippines is about a party in Boracay and paddling kayaks around Coron; Italy is about hiking Cinque Terre and eating pasta.
This content is not without virtue. It inspires folks to travel, which is intrinsically a good thing. However, it inadvertently encourages the idea of checklists: You gotta do this. You have to go here.
People don't care about numbers as much as we estimate*, and numbers don't build a sense of self-worth as much as we hope. Investing time in a culture or a person creates connection. Connection opens the mind by exposing us to different perspectives. Connection creates a sensation of belonging and inclusion. Connection fosters understanding and love. This is the essence of travel.
St. Augustine famously said "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
The world is more like a library. Those who do not travel read only one book. Those who speed travel are only reading the back covers.
The wealth of emotions, the complexity of the human experience, and the novel perspectives can only be reaped deep in the pages.
* With the exception of social media numbers, which is a currency that continues to gain value.
I'm Jonathan Legg
The road has been my greatest teacher.. challenging stagnant beliefs, disarming prejudices, and developing understanding of others. I hope the content on this blog will bring a sliver of that juju to you.