Our mission at One Hundred Miles is to protect and preserve Georgia’s 100-mile coast through advocacy, education, and citizen engagement. Throughout the past five years, our Coastal Conservation in Action: Choosing to Lead conference has brought people together and inspired them to act in new ways to protect the coast we all love. Whether through art or advocacy, volunteerism or education—or something else entirely—people come to Choosing to Lead searching for solutions. It is our hope that they leave with new friends, information, and a fire in their belly—ready to take what they’ve learned and turn it into action.
There is a famous quote from one of Theodore Roosevelt’s speeches that I thought appropriate to share: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…”
Many of the participants in Choosing to Lead are people accustomed to being in the arena—the arena coastal conservation, of environmental justice, of climate advocacy, of social change. Our participants don’t sit on the sidelines and criticize. They recognize problems and want to take steps to solve them.
Last year, in 2020, Covid pulled us out of that arena for a minute. It forced us to sit on the sidelines and watch what was going on around us. Some things we watched with delight, others in horror. Regardless, our observations have changed us: we as individuals and a society are now pivoting. It is up to us to ensure the pivot points us in the right direction to both experience and celebrate the beauty in this world more regularly and fight the true causes of injustice and inequity in our society.
In 2021, Choosing to Lead was designed to help everyone in the arena—in all of our different interests and capacities—come together on big issues facing our coast. Given our experiences over the past year, I believe that we have enough awareness and understanding to make progress toward solutions to problems that we might have considered too big to address just one year ago.
Over the next few weeks, you will have an opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives about how the local work happening for our coast and our environment, by so many committed people, can make a difference for this place and our planet.
Each of the weekly sessions will be supported by educational resources put together by our sponsors, partners, and others who are working in their own ways to make a difference. Please take full advantage of everything this conference has to offer. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
I hope you are as excited as I am to explore these important questions with our speakers and with each other. Thank you for trusting us with your time over the next five weeks. We look forward to hearing your feedback and working through these important conservation conservations together.
One Hundred Miles