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Home > Natural Resources > Land Management for Sustainable Communities and Natural Resources

Legal & Political Action to Preserve Ecosystems

Natural systems are big -- and require large actions to protect them. That takes legal and political action that is beyond what individuals can achieve in most cases. But together...

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The problem is "scale." The solution is a "big solution." Ecosystems are so complex and so large that piecemeal solutions just don't rise to the occasion.

Big Ecosystems Require Political Solutions

Saving local natural resources is a political process...I've come to believe. I used to think it was an educational process of the grassroots of a community. Education of business leaders. Education of consumers. But watching the struggle of John Muir on "America's National Parks" recently changed my mind. In a democracy (or a republic) it takes an act of government to save an ecosystem. THEN citizens can become the caretakers to build on the foundation of protection provided by national and state preservation.

I've come to believe that citizen action works as long as the "world" doesn't realize there is a hidden treasure...but once the word gets out, someone with power is ready to jump on it.

This notice about a Southern California community's approach to fighting incursion after incursion is a good example how this process of political action for preservation is important.

Ojai Valley Defense Fund

For anyone living in or near the Ojai Valley it’s well known that the residents have repeatedly faced threats to their quality of life with such issues as the proposed Weldon Canyon dump, the state’s plan to cut the Valley in half with a freeway, uranium or gypsum mining operations and numerous other undesirable projects.

All of these situations would have fundamentally harmed the environment and well-being of the citizens of the Ojai Valley. So early in the spring of 2009 a group of concerned citizens organized to create the Ojai Valley Defense Fund (OVDF), a nonprofit public benefit Corporation organized under the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for public and charitable purposes. The defense fund’s purpose is to protect the future of the treasured Ojai Valley community and in the process it could potentially serve as a model for other concerned communities. On October 18, 2009 the Ojai Valley Defense Fund was officially launched with an appreciation event for the Founding and Guardian donors at Casa Barranca in Ojai.

Since it's inception the OVDF has already raised a quarter of a million dollars in funds from donors and pledges. The goal is to eventually reach a million dollars in contributions to insure the security of the Ojai Valley as major threats face the valley in the coming years.

The OVDF is a carefully managed pool of financial contributions from families, businesses and civic organizations that will provide financial support to groups undertaking legal action to protect and sustain the environmental quality of the Ojai Valley for the public benefit. However, to attain support an application is required that meets key criteria including community consensus, credibility from the applicant or organization, prior efforts towards resolution, exhaustion of group resources, legal standing and OVDF board approval.

As a legal defense fund, the OVDF backs groups that are on the “front line,” so that they can concentrate on the threat and not have to spend all their energy struggling to raise money. According to President and founding member of the OVDF John Broesamle, “Simply by being here, the Ojai Valley Defense Fund may well ward off threats before they ever arise. With the Fund in place, outsiders will think twice before acting without regard to the valley’s welfare.” For more information and ways to donate go to: www.OVDF.org.

Your Solution...

Not everyone has extra cash lying around to donate to worthy causes such as this, but everyone can take the time to write one letter a month, or one letter a week in support of a regional sustainability issue. That's just good (sustainable) citizenship!

Testimonials are needed. Contacts are helpful. Stories are motivating. Facts are necessary to construct case studies. Your input can be honed to be very powerful as one citizen standing up for what you believe is right.

One letter at a time!



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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