We, as a country, are faced with many unanswered questions after Tuesday’s presidential election. I will try briefly to answer just one….
What does the 2016 presidential election mean for the Sonoran Institute?
It means that our work is more relevant than ever. The Sonoran Institute will be needed to apply our unique approach to conservation across the North American West –in big cities and small towns from Canada to Mexico–as we have for the past 26 years.
In a time of uncertainty, the Sonoran Institute helps communities plan for and adapt to change. Never has our community-based, collaborative and inclusive approach been more necessary or more relevant. Our commitment to civil discourse, shared values and outcomes that benefit all stakeholders, transcends politics. We will continue to take the lead on collaborative environmental efforts as we have for over two decades.
This does not mean we will not have challenges. For example, the President-elect has chosen a climate skeptic to lead the EPA transition team, which means President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is unlikely to move forward.
But, I have been at this for a long time. We know that the majority of Americans acknowledge climate change and want something done, whether it is large global efforts or smaller, incremental efforts on a community level. Our focus on resilient watersheds and communities is just one example of why our approach is so effective and so impactful for the communities we serve.
As with every other issue, it may take some time to sort through the implications of the election on the ongoing binational negotiations regarding the Colorado River Delta. That said, these negotiations reflect consensus among the United States, Mexico, Colorado River basin states, and NGOs that Delta restoration has been a tremendous success. We believe that all parties to the negotiations see continued Delta restoration as a key component to basin-wide negotiations in response to long-term drought and the possibility of a shortage declaration.
Let me be clear, we all have a vested interest in restoring the Delta and are optimistic that a binational agreement can be reached, but should an agreement not be reached, US and MX NGOs will continue to work on Delta restoration engaging our federal and state partners where possible. Further, we are committed to continuing the work we are doing on both sides of the border with vigor and resolve.
Finally, I would like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart that you have chosen this short, female, Jewish, senior citizen to lead this phenomenal international organization. We represent the best of what a civil society looks like and what it can achieve when it works to transcend borders of all kinds.
Blog Post By: Stephanie Sklar, Sonoran Institute
Stephanie Sklar is the Chief Executive Officer of the Sonoran Institute.