Join the Choir

Yes, I’m preaching to the choir.

People who read these words tend to be believers, so most likely you are familiar with the hymns:

“Our Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is a wonderful treasure, rich in ecosystems and biodiversity.”

“We have damaged the natural world that sustains us and helped unbalance the climate. We must protect what is still intact and find ways to revitalize what has been destroyed.”

The problem is that our congregation is few and multitudes number 7.3 billion.

But there is hope. Shared beliefs become operating systems for human behavior. In just a couple of millennia, Christianity has grown from 12 disciples to around 2.2 billion believers. Science is much more recent (the word ‘scientist’ dates just to 1833) but nearly as pervasive. Now that we have Facebook, ideologies spread even faster.

Social media speed up the flow of information and perceptions but direct experience is still more powerful than data and devices. When it comes to making the connection between protecting ecosystems and saving ourselves, a good place to start is our Monument. Walk the walk, feel the forest and the meadows, glimpse complex ecosystems: it will expand your consciousness. Better yet, invite someone who may not yet have seen the light to join you.

The Soda Mountain Wilderness Council has organized a series of backcountry hikes during June and July. Each will be led by a qualified Monument evangelist and each will explore a different aspect of what believers call a “Noah’s Ark” of plant and animal diversity.

Monument immersion opportunities include:

Canyon Ridge: Saturday, June 2, with ecologist Jay Lininger

Jenny Creek Falls: Saturday, June 9, aquatic biologist Michael Parker

Surveyor Mountain: Sunday, June 17, with terrestrial ecologist Dennis Odion

Little Hyatt old growth: Saturday, June 23, with botanist Dominic DiPaolo

Grizzly Peak: Thursday evening, June 28, with botanist Kristi Merganthaler

Vulture Rock: Sunday, July 1, with ecologist Jay Lininger