In his talk at TEDxBoulder, climber and Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson had some words of advice for both conservationists and outdoor athletes.
“There’s a crisis in the conservation movement right now and I believe…human powered recreation can help secure the future of the conservation movement," he said.
The video is worth a watch both for the hilarious climbing stories (ever heard about the climbers who found a plane full of pot in the High Sierra?) and to hear Robinson’s view about how the two parties must work together to secure the future of the conservation movement.
Robinson points out that, despite the dirt-bag reputation of climbers, some of them—such as Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard—build deep connections to nature through their experiences and later work for traditional conservation causes. And, despite clashes between climbers and conservationists in the past, the two groups must find a way to collaborate.
The conservation movement is facing a crisis of demographics, Robinson said, pointing out that only 8.5 percent of Nature Conservancy members are under 45. Climbers who love the wilderness could easily be advocates for these types of organizations.
“If you want to build a durable base of support for conservation, you need young people who are passionate and engaged with the outdoors,” Robinson said. “They may gain those passions in ways you don’t like or approve of. But I ask some of you to be a little more flexible and practical.”
He also spoke to the climbing community.
“We need to show the conservation movement our gratitude and our respect,” he said, and encouraged climbers to take a stand for environmental issues, be excellent stewards of the land and imbue the upcoming generation with the same reverence for nature.