WHO WE ARE
The RVCC prides itself on being an inclusive movement that seeks common ground between diverse interests. The coalition is currently comprised of more than 80 nonprofit, public, and private organizations. Our partners include rural community advocates, regional and national conservation organizations, environmentalists, business owners, federal and state land managers, researchers, county and state government, and foundations. The RVCC is led by the Leadership Team, a group of organizations and individuals invested in the Coalition’s long-term success.
Sustainable Northwest developed the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition in 2001, and organized its efforts for 10 years, distributing information on policy developments, raising funds, and supporting the participation of our members. As of 2015, Wallowa Resources has assumed sponsorship of RVCC, employing a part-time coordinator and a part-time program assistant.
WHAT WE DO
RVCC promotes practical, equitable and sustainable solutions that are grounded in the experiences of rural community members, workers, and businesses. Our approach is to strengthen and empower the voices of rural leaders on issues such as collaborative all-lands stewardship, renewable energy, climate change, and local workforce development. By bringing rural leaders together to share their work, we serve as a vital peer learning and capacity building network that accelerates the practice of land stewardship and aligned economic development.
We have worked together to successfully make a difference on many of the issues that affect rural communities, public and private land management, and the continuation of a natural resource-based economy in the West. We have been leaders in supporting policy and legislation including stewardship contracting, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, and the Community Wood Energy Program, among others, advocating for the inclusion of comprehensive community interests.
The protection, management, and utilization of nature’s resources have provided the basis for every human civilization known to history. Even a consumer and technology-based society must recognize this interdependence and the necessity for balancing our human accounts with nature’s own budget. RVCC is dedicated to taking up this challenge; to representing the interests of the people and landscapes of the American West in both the policy and practical arenas; to passing on a deeper connection between our region’s bounties and beauty, and our responsibilities for their sustainability; to building a legacy of opportunity and understanding for our children and their children; and to uniting and including all those who join with us in subscribing to these core beliefs:
Interdependence – The health of our rural communities and landscapes are interrelated. Restoration of the environment must occur in social symbiosis with the revitalization of rural communities.
Resilience and Diversity – Resilience and diversity are the key components that provide for both ecosystem productivity and economic well-being.
Power Sharing – Collaborative decision-making, investigation, assessment, action, and monitoring are vital to all vibrant and democratic systems of resources management and stewardship.
Cooperative Processes – Real cooperation is inclusive and based on mutual benefits, and on respect for the strengths, differences and interests that the involved parties bring together.
Sustainability – Long-term resource security is more dependent on re-investment in the associated ecosystems and rural economies than on the profits generated by their production.
Our Region – The natural resources, recreation opportunities and cultural attributes of the West make a significant contribution to the Nation as a whole.
Above all, we believe that the future of our region, our country, and our world will depend on how well we are able to manage for the protection and productivity of our landscapes, and on what we leave behind for the generations who will come after us in these places.
The coalition maintains several core goals:
- Seek and develop ecologically responsible and economically equitable solutions to the systemic problems that inhibit the restoration and maintenance of forests and rangelands.
- Increase support among decision-makers for federal funding of restoration, maintenance of public lands and rural economic development.
- Advance legislative ideas and influence legislation proposed by others.
- Strengthen the voices of rural leaders, both non-elected and elected, within conservation and economic development policy.
- Inform the media of our priority issues and the potential benefits of the solutions we offer.
Why the RVCC is Unique
The RVCC is a multi-issue, multi-state coalition of organizations working together to address both short and long-term policy barriers. Therefore the RVCC is committed to:
- Changing what the national policy dialogue is about, and to actually changing federal policies.
- Working together collaboratively.
- Promoting long-term solutions that are politically, socially, and economically durable.
- Making good things happen on the land and in rural communities.
- Adapting our processes and positions as we learn and share with others, within and from outside of the coalition.
- Seeking change incrementally, systematically and through the overhaul of broken systems.
Top photo credit: Bob Christensen