The Open Space of Democracy
Focused on America’s public lands as a bulwark against environmental crisis and as an embodiment of a democratic ideal, The Open Space of Democracy aims to (1) cultivate and amplify a cohort of new and diverse voices and compelling narratives, and (2) unify and inspire large-scale collective action in defense of our shared inheritance.
Background and Context
In 2016, after armed militants seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon, the Grand Canyon Trust launched a pilot program, 'Intercessions on Land', to convene land and policy experts, legal scholars, conservationists, artists, writers, theologians, scientists, and indigenous leaders to craft a new narrative about the importance of public lands in a 21st Century climate destabilized world.
Key participants included some of the most visible, influential and powerfully inspirational public lands, conservation and spiritual leaders of our time: Terry Tempest Williams, Jim Enote, Bill Hedden, Mark Udall, Maggie Fox, Caroline Casey, Kevin Fedarko, Charles Wilkinson, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Chip Blake and more.
There were many tangible and exciting outcomes as a result of the gatherings, such as: the purchase of oil and gas leases by Terry Tempest and Brooke Williams; the formation of new and unusual alliances; multiple op-eds and articles; a framework for the project’s continuance; and over one hundred evocative video interviews detailing the importance of public lands (see link below). Now, we hope to achieve a qualitatively new scale and level of visibility in 2017.