Written by Callie Strickland
I was immediately struck by the incredible backdrop of the EGA retreat in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, and the importance of protecting such an environmentally and culturally significant landscape. Guided by the theme “from pueblo to global,” speakers explored ties between local and global, past and present, drought and abundance. With attendees still buzzing from Climate Week in NYC, many asked what lies ahead on the road to the 2015 climate talks in Paris. I was especially moved by author Michelle Otero’s words during the opening session, “in times of drought we are water for one another.” 2013 Goldman Prize winner Kim Wasserman spoke about her work to shut down coal plants in Chicago, and the need to remain proactive rather than simply reactive. In another of my favorite sessions, Women on the Front Lines of Climate Change, Penny Davies (Ford Foundation) and Wahleah Johns (Black Mesa Water Coalition) demonstrated that although women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, they are on the front lines of effective environmental activism around the world. Outside of the conference hall, I really enjoyed connecting with fellow attendees and learning about their work. The EGA retreat provides an important opportunity for funders to connect and share best practices in order to make grantmaking as effective as possible in the face of serious environmental threats.