An Important Day for Democracy and Conservation
January 20, 2021
By Mani Oliva, CEO
These past two weeks we have witnessed both the fragility and the resilience of democracy. From the violent attacks where messages of hate were prevalent, to the words of support and unity during the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris – ironically both occurring on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Having spent the majority of my life in Washington DC, including countless hours within the hallways and offices of Congress, as well as having had the privilege of representing the United States around the world in my positions within previous Administrations, I have been deeply affected by these two extremes. At the same time I have contemplated the shared nature of our democracy and the state of our natural world. The breaks we have seen within each are not sudden and unpredictable events, but instead the culmination of years of erosion to both. And the long-term health of both requires an intentional and constant commitment to each.
I passionately believe in Point Blue’s mission in the importance of protecting wildlife, ensuring the health of ecosystems, and conserving the biodiversity that serves as a fundamental pillar for the health and wellbeing of all human communities. I have dedicated my life to this work. At the same time my experience working with different communities from around the world has made it clear to me that the foundation on which this conservation pillar stands is a society that is truly representative of its people. A society that honors democratic principles and ideals, and strives to equally represent and serve all of its community members justly.
Among many other changes, the incoming Administration has served notice that a respect for science and a commitment to fight climate change will once again be priorities. President Biden and Vice President Harris have also made clear their intention to work towards bridging the deep divide between our diverse communities so we can live up to the ideals of our democracy and continue to build a more fair and just society.
In the coming months and years we will seek to build upon our role as a trusted scientific voice and connect with the commitment of this new Administration to raise the ambition of our collective efforts to fight climate change and protect our natural resources. Having built our unique capabilities in partnership with many of the leading voices for innovation and ambition here in California–which is at the forefront of this movement–we are excited for the potential ahead. We will also seek to continue our journey of learning so we can be an active contributor to the creation of the fairer and more just society that we all want, that we all need–which is the bedrock of all of the important conservation successes we hope to achieve.