From the Publisher
by Chris Klein
hile I was growing up, I was surrounded by heroes -
at least, stories of heroes. I don't know what the actual individuals were
like, but their story personas all tended to have a lot in common.
Rugged individualists, they set off following some private
vision. They followed that vision in the face of indifference, lack of agreement,
or outright scorn and hostility. They usually persevered in achieving their
private vision, which in retrospect turned out to be to our benefit as well
(which is why they're not just forgotten). Even when they didn't succeed,
there was some noble element that distinguished them even in failure.
They mostly tended to be humble, often loners. In any
case, they didn't think of themselves as heroes. When they spoke of themselves
at all, it was generally as "just plain folks." They were just
doing what they felt they had to do. Political correctness aside, the image
of the pioneer of the Old West comes to mind.
Since I have been active in the environmental community
- over the previous five years or so - I've had the pleasure of meeting
a lot of "just plain folks," often pioneers in their own right,
that fit this ad hoc characterization of hero pretty closely. Let's face
it: indifference, lack of agreement, outright scorn and hostility are pretty
common reactions to those working for the environment.
The EarthFair this April was full of heroes. About half
of the 279 exhibitors were non-profit organizations, and half of those are
really small - just a couple of folk trying to make a difference. Take a
good look at the non-profit environmental directory. If you want to find
some heroes, this is a good place to start.
Take the case of Carl Worl, featured in this issue's
cover story about sea turtles. His life pattern has been: work in the United
States, save money, then go to Mexico and work to save the sea turtles until
the money runs out. Then do it again. This is not the easiest way to live
your life, but for Carl, it is the only way.
I'm sure that Carl doesn't think of himself as a hero,
but I do.
We can be very stingy with the title "hero."
I've heard it said: We have no contemporary heroes; not because there are
no heroes, but because they are our contemporaries.
Don't be stingy. Who do you know that's a hero? Let
them know, and give they your support.
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