Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A stalwart of desert and wilderness preservation, a giant amongst us, has gone.

It is my fervent wish that his memory and good works will live on, and especially
within the young.

I am referring to Elden Hughes, longtime Sierra Club member and one of the main people responsible for saving some of California’s most scenic desert from
development, along with Senator Diane Feinstein.

The papers and online media have lots of details regarding his life and accomplishments, I would just like to touch upon one or two things.

The way this man went about lobbying on Capitol Hill for the Feinstein bill was
brilliant. By using the baby tortoises, he unlocked the doors to the powerful through the hearts of the staffers- a gesture so simple, but so powerful, at the
same time- this insight, so profound, had such an important effect; sometimes
the most powerful idea is one that can be summarized in a mood or a feeling-
it doesn’t have to be complicated to be believed- simple ideas that resonate with the average folk work- that’s the message for today’s current batch of leaders, on conservation issues, or matters of state- we owe Mr. Hughes big time for that lesson.

I read the same things the rest of you did about the man and I don’t know how
he can be replaced. He truly was a giant amongst us and the loss can not be made up, unless each of us, in our own way, makes the vow to ourselves to try to care, to try to make a difference, to do what we can, to conserve and save at
least some of the wilderness out there still remaining.

When I read about his passing, I decided that I needed to get out and go to the
desert, to let my mind wrap itself around this news in the background as I looked upon the “barebones of the earth” as he called the desert mountains, to
try to see things a little clearer, to blow away the city cobwebs- to just get away.

It has been reported that Mr. Hughes wants his ashes scattered in the area of the Natural Bridge in Utah, I confess that I hope on the way, that they stop somewhere, say in the Mojave National Preserve near Kessler Peak or the Kelso Dunes, or maybe in Sleeping Beauty Valley a few miles away, and leave
a few there as well. Let the land that he loved here also be watched over by his
spirit, which I believe will never be forgotten nor will ever die, as long as we hold the memory of what he did, inside us all.

Rest in peace, Mr. Hughes.


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