Earlier this year, a study was published in the prestigious journal Science showing species of plants and animals are becoming extinct 1,000 times faster than they did before humans. This is about 10 times faster than biologists had previous believed. The official conclusion, according to the lead author Dr. Stuart Pimm of Duke University, was that “we are on the verge of the sixth great extinction, and whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions.” In other words, this looming mass extinction is caused by humans and only we can stop it.
Time and again we have seen that the actions of small, bold, grassroots groups are most effective at saving habitat and protecting imperiled species of plants and animals. They are helping to stem the tide of extinction not only by their on-the-ground efforts but also by inspiring other people to care deeply about biodiversity. Grassroots activists dedicate countless hours doing difficult work fighting destructive projects pushed by moneyed interests, with little financial compensation. Further, the boldness of these small groups often encourages much larger, well-funded environmental organizations to sacrifice fewer acres of forest and woodland, prairie, desert, wetland, and ocean habitats in the name of political compromise.
It is just these kinds of small, driven groups to which the Fund for Wild Nature provides vital support. We can only do this with investment from people like you. Our all-volunteer board of directors raises money, vets grant proposals to find the most effective projects, and seeks out new grassroots groups and activists doing innovative work to safeguard biodiversity. We also award a $1,000 annual prize to a ‘Grassroots Activist of the Year’ to celebrate the unsung heroes of the conservation movement and give them much-needed public accolades (and support for their spirits).
These groups include several in the northern Rockies fighting to stop logging in our national forests that would harm endangered grizzly bears, bull trout, lynx, and wolverines. In September, a federal court in Montana ruled in favor of a coalition of four Fund for Wild Nature grantees—the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Swan View Coalition, Friends of the Wild Swan, and Native Ecosystems Council—who sued to stop a major timber sale in the Swan Valley. Thanks to these groups ready to take on David-versus-Goliath challenges, this area of the Swan Valley will remain wild. It is for this and other reasons that the Fund chose to honor the executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies as our 2014 Grassroots Activist of the Year.
These days, modern technology—our televisions, cell phones, and computers—has separated us to a great extent from wild nature. But we continue to depend on the natural world for our own survival, for clean air and water, healthy soils, and the intricate web of life that maintains it all. With your continued support we can fund the feistiest grassroots groups who are willing to dedicate the necessary time and energy to stop the sixth great extinction and preserve the web of life…and in doing so, preserve us all.
Fund for Wild Nature
P.O. Box 900
Kelso WA 98626
Monica Bond, MS is a wildlife biologist and biodiversity advocate with the Wild Nature Institute. She is a graduate of the first year of Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing, and has worked as an Endangered Species Act grassroots organizer for the National Wildlife Federation and a staff biologist for the Center for Biological Diversity, where she fought urban sprawl and protected forests from damaging logging. Monica received her M.S. degree in Wildlife Science from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University and has conducted field research on Gray-tailed Voles, Western Burrowing Owls, Spotted Owls, Black-backed Woodpeckers, Arboreal Salamanders, Northern Elephant Seals, Hawaiian Monk Seals, and Masai Giraffe. She resides in New Hampshire but travels around the world researching and advocating for the conservation of imperiled wildlife and habitats.