Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Can El Paso Environmentalists Cooperate?

A bit over a week ago environmentalists from various El Paso groups came together to discuss collaboration. "Together we can do more" seemed to be the theme. The meeting aroused excitement and the group left planning to reconvene in January and, in the meantime, to develop a social media presence - one that can be shared by all the groups represented. 

There were representatives from the Audubon Society, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, CDEC, the Sierra Club, Celebration of Our Mountains, Insights, the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition, EPCC and even a representative from the City of El Paso. JanaƩ Reneaud Field, the Director of Frontera Land Alliance, chaired the meeting.

One member suggested that coming together, sharing ideas, and building networks and resources might be the sole purpose along with a shared social media presence.

It's a great idea and a great start; but, will it last?

Judy Ackerman of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition probably made the most sense when she said that FMWC had always acted as the place for all of El Paso's conservation and environmental groups. It makes the most sense until you realize that FMWC has not been a true coalition. A list of groups included in their dossier seems only to be useful as a tool for political advocacy. FMWC is governed by its own Board rather than a true gathering of the coalition although some members of the board are indeed members of other groups if not their representatives. The chairing of the FMWC does not rotate among the various groups who, at least on paper, make up that Coalition.

Please understand, I think the highest of FMWC and their work. The leaders of FMWC are among the best and greatest El Pasoans. 

It would be simpler if this nascent Collaboration operated not just under the umbrella of FMWC but as the FMWC.

Whatever, I hope EP environmentalists can indeed be collaborative and be valuable resources one to the other.

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