Quote of the week: “Be an Activist, But Only Part-Time”

Some words for your mind to munch on.

This Edward Abbey quote was the foundation for my talk in Mammoth Lakes last week. I split it into two parts: 1) When you feel paralyzed that what you’re doing is just a tiny drop in a giant ocean, remember that you’re not the only environmentalist out there. Even if you have just a drop, you should still contribute that drop to the world, to saving our public lands, to signing that Nature Conservancy Public Lands pledge. Be a part-time martyr for your mission. But don’t burn yourself out, because you have to walk the talk, first and foremost. See 2.

2) Do you justify reasons for not pursuing your passion?  “I’m just way too busy.” “No way can I fit in my run today.” “I have to deposit a check!” “My job is taking precedence now.” “I’ll get back to skiing another season.” Well, as Abbey says: this is ridiculous. You must pursue your  passion, get outside, forget the superfluous crap of modern society and get back to the basics. If you love to run, run as often as possible. Ski? Get on the slopes! Read? GET A BOOK! We can only be part-time crusaders, but we can be full-time passionate about our passions. Stay hungry, people.

Be an Activist, But Only Part-Time

“Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am—a reluctant enthusiast…a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: You will outlive the bastards.” 

—Edward Abbey (American author and essayist, known for his opinions on environmental advocacy and criticism of public land policies) B&WTenpeaks.jpg

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