Episode 32: I Ling Thompson from the Trust for Public Land on How to Support Nature and Boost Healthy Communities
A note from your host:
I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe. I’ve been trying to figure out what to compare this pandemic to some other event for context and I can’t find one. this new territory for all of us. And like you I don’t know what’s next or what the other side of this looks like. All I know to do is keep moving forward. Keep doing the things I know how to do and look for ways I can use what I do to make other people’s lives better.
No, there’s no blueprint on how to move forward in terms of business. But there are some things you can do to make sure your brand weathers this storm and continues to serve your employees and customers. I’ve written a document entitled “Branding in a Time of Disruption” that you can read for free on our site. I think you’ll find it helpful.
About this Episode:
I Ling Matthews Thompson is herself a force of nature. She’s the SVP and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the Trust for Public Land. Her passion for the outdoors and what they mean to communities is evident in our conversation. Here’s a clip about getting inner city children access to more parks.
“And she looked at me and she says, you know, when you give children broken concrete and flooded fields to play in, you tell them that they don’t matter. That they aren’t worth it. But when you give them trees and plants and green spaces to play and clean air to breathe. You tell them that they matter.”
Check out the rest of the conversation. Welcome to Marketing Upheaval.
Rudy Fernandez 1:21
Welcome to Marketing Upheaval. My guest is I Ling Matthews Thompson, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at the Trust For Public Land. I Ling has also held leadership positions at the Nature Conservancy and The Outdoor Industry Association. A good part of her career has been in getting more people to have access to parks and recreation, and getting our representatives to support that. We’re going to talk about how to get more people to go outside and have more places to enjoy the outdoors. So thanks for joining me, I Ling.
I Ling Thompson 1:47
Hey, I’m really glad to be here.
Rudy Fernandez 1:49
Let’s start with the Trust for Public Land. They create parks and protect land for people. So how do they do that?
Mission and Purpose
I Ling Thompson 1:56
Yeah, the Trust for Public Land has been around for about 47 years and one of the mainstays of our mission has been about connecting people to the outdoors by creating parks or open spaces, trails, protecting large scale forests and areas where people can get outside. Fast forward 47 years, we actually go into communities and create parks and open spaces. We are looking at how we can find open spaces and parks, in urban environments where real estate is at a premium and you can’t really shoehorn in a park.
We’re getting creative and we’re looking at school yards that right now are barren asphalt. And we’re working with school districts to transform those school yards into green vibrant areas where kids can play and the surrounding community is able to come out and enjoy those spaces. And we also work on creating access in some iconic national parks. Like just in December we protected a one mile stretch of the Zion Narrows trail in Zion National Park that had previously been privately owned. And so sometimes hikers would come up and the trail was closed. Sometimes they’d walk up and it was open. It was very unpredictable. So we worked with the landowner there to make sure that that trail remained open for access for people for perpetuity. So we do some pretty cool stuff. Yeah, I have to say, I’m excited to be here and be part of this mission.
The Future of Public Lands
Rudy Fernandez 3:29
You brought this up? What is the difference – What are the main general differences between what the Trust for Public Land did 47 years ago to what it does today?
I Ling Thompson 3:38
The way people are getting outside is quite different than back 47 years ago. Societies are more urbanized, younger people want to live closer to cities. And so that has really created this shift in the way that we’re looking where we say yes, those places that create these amazing outdoor experiences in wild nature, those are still important, but those are fewer and far between. To come along then where people live now, which are in urban environments. And so we’re balancing now, how we’re creating access to parks and open space for people looking at both where we still have opportunities to protect places, and how we can make that happen in more urbanized environments.
Technology vs. Outdoors
Rudy Fernandez 4:20
So I read in an outdoor foundation study that says that people are going outdoors less and less, and you could see that obviously, because the increased technology, you know, Netflix has a lot of stuff on it. How does that impact your message and what you do?
I Ling Thompson 4:35
Yeah, you know, evolving society and some of the factors like you said, like technology, the way people are interacting with the outdoors and with nature is different. It used to be where people aspire to say, I’m going to take 30 days and go into the wilderness and I’m going to find myself. Younger people now aren’t really looking for those types of experiences, but they are looking for opportunities to meet their friends in the park, do some bouldering closer to home. A lot of younger people don’t have cars when they live in cities. And so they need these closer to home, almost every day opportunities to get outside.
Part of it is looking at the way that people are starting to interact with the outdoors and thinking about how we’re creating access really supports the way that they actually want to get outside. You see that with the rise of communities are really wanting to have those spaces close to home, that they can get to daily outdoor opportunities or they’re thinking about bike commuting and their carbon footprints. And so they want safe routes or paths where they can get where they’re trying to go and still have good exercise and opportunity to get some fresh air and to be outside and live a little lighter on the earth.
The Importance of Parks
Rudy Fernandez 5:51
And that is why one of the stated goals of the Trust for Public Land is to put everyone within a 10 minute walk of a park for that reason because they’re more urbanized?
I Ling Thompson 6:02
Absolutely. You know, it’s incredible what happens when people have a chance to get outside. And everyone can support the idea of having access to a good quality park nearby. And we’re facing some real issues in today’s society around social isolation because people are heads down and communicating through social networks and getting outside. Having a park, going to a dog park, you know, it creates these opportunities for interactions. We really looked at that and said, Okay, what is the real change with the Trust for Public Land can bring to society, and it’s what’s behind the 10 Minute Walk vision. And that ensures that people get that opportunity to get outside and if you think about it, 10 minutes to a park, enjoying some time in the park and a 10 minute walk back, you’re starting to hit some of the daily exercise requirements that the health community really encourages people to have.
Nature and it’s Benefits to Mental Health
Rudy Fernandez 6:51
Yeah, do you find it part of your messages, not just obviously we need to figure out how to get parks close to people, but also “We need to convince people that they need to go outside and go to a park.”
I Ling Thompson 7:03
And there’s been a lot of studies around that now about the benefits of nature and mental health, looking at children and their incidences of hyperactivity or violence on the schoolyard and things like that. We’re starting to see studies that look at what happens to people’s mental and physical health when they get outside. Psychologists are recommending folks get outside in nature, physicians are suggesting to people to get outside and walk and get that fresh air and that time out there.
There’s a lot of benefits that come from getting outside that really drive this for us. The other thing is, we look at this, not every community is created equal. And so there are parts of any urban city that you go to where there are parts of the community that have great access to parks and beautiful paths and trails and safe places to go and sit and enjoy the outdoors. But it’s not necessarily the same in other parts of the city. And so as we look at this idea that everyone deserves a quality park within a 10 minute walk, and it creates a bar for us to say, “how do we make sure that that’s equal across different parts of any community, different parts of the city?” And that really is something we care deeply about.
Access to Parks
Rudy Fernandez 8:21
Yeah, I was going to say on your website, you have a park score ranking tool, which is really neat. You type in the city, your city, and it tells you what percentage of your city lives within a 10 minute walk of a park. Mine was 41%, which I’m guessing is not good. Is it?
I Ling Thompson 8:40
Well, you know, good. It’s all relative, right? It’s better than less than that.
I’m sorry. It’s better than less than that. Ha! It’s like one of my teachers. Well, at least you didn’t get a 40%.
I Ling Thompson 8:57
That’s right. You know, but there are some communities that exceed 80-90% access. And so you know, there’s always room to go and especially, where you’re from in Atlanta, it’s a big city. There’s a lot of people, it’s a growing city. It’s known for being the South with big trees and that sort of thing. And so this idea of creating a Parks Score was really to provide tools and a barometer really for community safety. How can we move the needle on this? And if we provide more parks and open space access, how would that improve our community? And so it starts to give leaders and communities some tools to be able to gauge how they might come up with solutions to really improve their communities.
Rudy Fernandez 9:45
So your primary target audience is, community leaders, politicians or business leaders?
I Ling Thompson 9:52
They’re very important to us, particularly with a 10 Minute Walk vision. We’re working closely with folks like mayors to really realize this vision and partnering with them. Two of our partners, Urban Land Institute and National Recreation and Park Association, we’re all working closely to encourage mayor’s to think about this 10 minute walk and learn more about the benefits of parks and open space to their communities. But also we have outdoor enthusiasts, anyone that’s interested in education, improving educational outcomes for children, all the benefits that come with that.
Our audiences are also people that care about safe routes, whether it’s walking or cycling around communities, people that are very civic minded and want to have great quality community in place to raise their families and have a thriving business. Parks and open space are a tool that allow us to create stronger communities, specifically, you know, spatial communities on the ground, but also communities of people that like to connect and enjoy their time together because they have these spaces to go to. So yeah, I look at our appeal as an organization from a marketing standpoint is people that care about a strong society want to have clean air, open spaces to get outside? Those are people who can get behind our mission.
Rudy Fernandez 11:09
Yeah, that’s what I was gonna ask you. So it seems to me that who would be against parks? And I mean, what obstacles do you face? And how do you overcome them?
I Ling Thompson 11:19
Yeah, this is it’s such an interesting question. You know, walking in the door of such a storied organization with a long legacy of, you know, quietly creating parks around this country. Parks, open spaces, trails, you name it, we’ve probably left the breadcrumbs somewhere in your community. That’s pretty significant to the way that that anyone likes to get outside. Our challenge is that parks still are viewed as nice to haves and not necessary. And what we’re really seeing through more than 5000 places and parks that we’ve created around the country, we’re seeing the real deeper impact that parks bring. They create stronger social bonds between members of communities. They’re addressing health disparities, improving health outcomes.
It really looks at communities that there are some the haves and the have nots and starts to be an equalizer. When you’re going into a community that has not historically received investments from their cities, to have quality sidewalks and parks and safe places for their children to go. The act of creating a park brings communities together in ways that they’re creating something and building something together. And so, you know, for me, the hard part is the work is beautiful and amazing when you see it underway, and you see what a community can do together. But it’s this idea that people still think of parks is nice to have, when we really think of it as instrumental to the social fabric of strong communities.
Rudy Fernandez 12:54
I can see that we talked to someone a few weeks ago, who’s talking about trends and counter trends. The trends, obviously, our highly technologically and digitized world, and there’s counter trends where there’s this craving for human interaction. Seems like parks would fit in perfectly with that.
Schoolyards and Children’s Health
I Ling Thompson 13:12
Oh, absolutely. You know, there’s two stories. Your comments just made me think of one. I was in Tacoma, Washington a few months ago and I had an opportunity to sit with a principal of a school that we were looking at developing a partnership with to create a Green School yards program. And this principal, she’s amazing. She’s one of these just high energy. She was so sort of like a superstar rock star walking down the halls of her school, high fiving kids and teachers, parents, and she sat with us and she said she was already doing a lot of what it takes to create a green schoolyard.
She was rallying the community around the school. She was calling the media to highlight the fact that the highway expansion was dumping a lot of stormwater directly in the school yard. There was an unsafe bridge, these children had to walk across this, you know, eight lane highway to get to school and there was broken glass and it was just unsafe. Not a lot of lights and just the act of getting to the school. They then sat in the center of a very smoky, polluted, acrid schoolyard that was right in the middle of a multi interstate interchange. And so she had already recognized this and said, “You know, I’m planting these trees that the Department of Transportation had taken out when they were expanding the highway. I’m rallying the community to help me water them. I’m getting the kids out. So they learn about trees and they understand what trees do.”
She was wanting to do more in her school yard. So when we entered she was already there. And you know, really I’ll tell you I was just a couple months on the job and, and she looked at me and she says you know when you give children broken concrete and flooded fields to play in you’re tell them that they don’t matter. That they aren’t worth it. But when you give them trees and plants and green spaces to play, and clean air to breathe, you tell them that they matter. That you care. And it’s that, you know, this work is so deep. And it’s powerful when you actually see it in action. And you see a community pulling together to really get to those outcomes that they want, which are great places for children to grow up for the community to gather, to beautify their community. And it becomes a real source of pride for them.
The Impact of Parks in Communities
Rudy Fernandez 15:35
Wow. I was going to ask you, and you already talked about several. So you may be repeating yourself – What’s the impact of having a park close by?
I Ling Thompson 15:44
You know, it’s there are many. One is, you know, you actually have a great place for the community to go and gather. You also are creating space for people to go outside and exercise. I’ll tell you one of the things that’s been really helpful for us, and it fuels our parks score work is we do GIS mapping and really layer over data to understand how a park actually improves health outcomes. How it addresses equal access to parks, it’s tackling issues like heat, that you know, depending on where you live, you may have more concrete, which means your community will be hotter. Those disadvantaged communities really suffer from that. Your community may be flooded because storm water is not managed well, and you’re part of the community but it’s manageable in other parts of the community. And so our mapping data allows us to really identify where parks are needed most. And we can actually show how various needles move when you put a park in a place that creates access for areas that have perhaps lower education scores, you know, poor health, and crime, even those types of things. We’re continuing to see over time, how parks are able to really improve communities. But those are some of the ways that we’re really studying and how we’re using more modern tools like big data to really help us work with communities that want to put more parks and see where they matter most.
The Power of Nature
Rudy Fernandez 17:15
Yeah, I noticed that. Just looking at the mapping software, you folks have. I guess it’s no coincidence, the lower socio economic areas are the ones with fewer parks. So it really also becomes a social issue in addition to just an nature issue.
I Ling Thompson 17:33
Absolutely. You know, and that’s the one thing I can say from, you know, all of my years working in outdoor recreation and conservation, there’s a shared ethos that anyone has around the power of nature. You asked me earlier, you know who’s against this, and in this case, I would say who should be for this. There’s a long ethos of people that have been conservationists, they appreciate nature. They know why it matters. And you how impactful it is on your personal life and people, you know well. And just imagine for other areas of society that haven’t had that kind of access to nature. It’s a way for us who’ve benefited from nature to really make sure that all generations have access to parks and trees and fresh air and places to play and enjoy and grow up and gather as a community.
The Transformational Experience of Getting Outdoors
Rudy Fernandez 18:26
I read a quote, it was by Octavia Hill, and it was it was 125 years ago. And she said, “Our lives are overcrowded, overexcited, overstrained, we all need space. Unless we have it. We cannot reach that sense of quiet, in which whispers of better things come to us gently.” And that was 125 years ago.
I Ling Thompson 18:49
Wow. Wow. It’s amazing. Its nature is the thing that endures. It’s a powerful transformational experience to get outside and I just, really I think about what could our society be like if more people, all people had access to fresh air the outdoors, they had that chance to re-center? What could that do? And that really drives us, you know, and it’s probably one big way where we’ve made a real commitment to say, everyone, all people deserve access to parks and open space because they really transform well as they transform communities.
Rudy Fernandez 19:28
Well, you know, I was just thinking, when you were mentioning, we were talking about technology and outdoor, our park in our neighborhood. The time I saw it most full of people was when they came out with the PokemonGo. And everyone was out there and I thought, well, that’s wonderful. Everybody’s outside. They’re staring at their phones, but whatever. They’re outside. I thought that’s great.
Come As You Are
I Ling Thompson 19:54
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. There’s always been a bit of a debate amongst hardcore outdoor enthusiasts around, you know how people should get outside what qualifies as being an outdoor person. We really believe, come as you may. People are interacting with the outdoors in ways that are meaningful to them. And, hey, if Pokemon is getting kids outside excited and moving through a park and getting some exercise, that’s great, you know, processing it. Yoga in the park, you know, lots of different ways that people are getting outside. Walking groups, skate parks, everyone’s doing it right. When they get outside. That’s really our goal is some places will go into a community, and maybe it’s a largely Hispanic community. And what we’re finding is what will encourage people to go to a space is when they feel like it’s for them, it’s welcoming of them.
We’ve gone into a community and a place in Wenatchee, Washington where you know, it’s a large city. The community there, many of the people in the community are part of the agriculture. They do a lot of growing. We worked with them and developed a park that had turf field, it had a performance pavilion that’s found commonly in town squares in Mexico. It’s the way the community wanted to engage with the space and be outside and picnic with their families. And so it’s also about reflecting the various cultures of the people in that community so that it’s a space for them and not defined or designed by people who aren’t using the space.
Economic Opportunities of Outdoor Recreation
Rudy Fernandez 21:37
Yeah. Well, let me ask you, what are some trends in the outdoor preservation space?
I Ling Thompson 21:44
Yeah, we’ve touched on a couple of these but, you know, people are getting outside in very different ways. And to me a tragedy is when there’s a park and no one uses it. We see that at times. And so, you know, really getting to know communities and creating spaces that are welcoming and used by people, because they’re interacting with the outside in different ways. We’re seeing a lot, in this outdoor preservation space around, fewer people are going far away on long, epic adventures. And they’re looking for more everyday opportunities to get outside. You’ve talked a lot about this overly digital culture. How do we combat the social isolation that people are feeling?
We’re also seeing this is pretty exciting for us that more communities are now recognizing that outdoor recreation is an economic opportunity for them. And so you know, you’re seeing a rise of more accessible outdoor recreation equipment like e-bikes, and things like that, that are allowing people who normally might not be able to use a traditional bicycle on under full power. But it’s allowing them to get that exercise, get outside. And these communities are recognizing that people are getting outside in lots of different ways. And if they make their spaces, their forests around them, their parks, their trails, a welcoming environment, and they’re building their communities around them. They’re finding real economic opportunity in outdoor recreation. And that’s pretty exciting because it allows communities that have not traditionally had strong economic base, it’s creating a space in place for them to really thrive.
Rudy Fernandez 23:34
Yeah, I remember, we worked together when you were at the Outdoor Industry Association, and just the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars that are created from just people going outside and enjoying the outdoors. It’s a huge opportunity, I think.
I Ling Thompson 23:51
Absolutely. You know, and we’re also seeing a lot of states are popping up these offices of outdoor recreation because they recognize that outdoor recreation is an important sector of their states and communities. And that’s pretty exciting. Because, you know, in order to recreate outside, you need more open space. And so we’re able to really work with communities to make sure that they’ve got some great quality places to get outside for themselves and potentially be a draw for others to come to their community.
Balancing Preservation vs. Recreation
Rudy Fernandez 24:20
That leads me to something we talked about before the we started recording, which is there is a movement to having more drilling on public lands. And we talked about Bears Ears and how can you balance preserving land and helping communities that rely on energy versus protecting public lands? How do you balance that?
I Ling Thompson 24:42
It’s hard, but I think at the Trust for Public Land, the way that we really approach this work is everyone can agree on having quality places to get outside and fresh air places for kids to play. There are certain bedrock issues so that any organization is going to have around ensuring that places that have been protected and set aside remain that way. And that’s important work. In some places, you know, we’re able to bring forward economic data that shows how forests may, in fact provide more economic opportunity than traditional extraction or energy may have previously provided in some boom and bust communities.
There was a robust economy based on energy or extraction, and now that is no longer the opportunity. And so these communities are really trying to find their way and find a good healthy balance for jobs and to ensure their livelihoods. The thing they can agree on is creating spaces for people to get outside and recreate is an opportunity for them. We’re very focused on bringing forward solutions and appealing to both sides of the aisle. Because there’s great benefit here and finding places for people to get outside finding that economic opportunity, identifying the real health benefits to doing so, and making sure that all people have an opportunity to get outside.
Climate Change in Communities
Rudy Fernandez 26:14
Well, since we’re on the subject of politics, how much of your messaging is centered around climate change?
I Ling Thompson 26:22
Climate change is an issue that will affect the planet and our approach has been how does this really land down in the communities where we’re working? And how do we help them understand what some of those challenges might be? And what are some of the solutions to help them deal with those impacts in Atlanta?
Cook Park is right around the corner from you all. And you know, Vine City and English Avenue and it had experienced historic flooding several years back and many of those homes were destroyed. People had to be relocated. Some of those homes still suffer from mold and various issues, those dealing with stormwater runoff and ensuring that those have places to go so that communities like the ones around Cook Park are safe and have the equal benefits. That’s the solution that we’ve been working on finding, as we face more heavy storm events. What is that community going to do about that?
We worked with the community to design Cook Park so that it can store up to 10 million gallons of storm water and still provide a really great place to get outside and walk and enjoy the outdoors. That’s an example of how we’re saying okay, the impacts are real. When you get down at the community level. Some communities have more flooding, some communities will have heat that is going to impact the more disadvantaged or the more vulnerable populations like kids. And so how we help them understand what that actually looks like. Creating those solutions is the thing that I think we can really offer.
Asphalt School Yards
Really, there was one thing I wanted to share with you also, if you could demonstrate, we were at some of our green school yard work. What we found is that if you actually went to the asphalt surface of a school yard, and you took a temperature reading, we were in a project in Oakland, California, where we found the air temperature was 63 degrees. So whereas the adults are standing 60 degrees, surface temperature, at the same time, same day, was 115 degrees. So when you think about little people, and they’re on these asphalt, dark asphalt school yards the way they were designed in the past, it’s quite different. And so the spectrum of the real issues, how do we really solve that? And so a lot of our big data is really helping us highlight where areas can benefit from parks because you know, trees, more tree canopy lowers surface temperatures. And that’s the way we’re able to kind of package that together and bring it as real solutions that help address these issues that we’re going to see more and more of.
Rudy Fernandez 29:11
Wow, that’s a 40 degree difference more than a forty.
I Ling Thompson 29:14
It’s incredible. It’s mind blowing.
Rudy Fernandez 29:17
Yeah. I mean, especially if you consider what if it’s summer? And what if you’re, let’s say in Georgia? So is there something you hinted at, you said something about it earlier. Is there something now in how parks are created, that is different than the way they were created in the past.
Community Involvement in Creating Parks
I Ling Thompson 29:36
There’s this attention, deep attention being paid now to creating spaces that are have community involvement, because it ensures that those spaces are well cared for, that those spaces reflect the things that community really wants. And all of that, that those spaces are used more. And so there are many ways you can find a place that could use a park or an open space and you can set it up the way that you would like. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s being used. We found that our approach is quite unique and how we’re able to really reflect the needs, the values, the culture of communities, and in some places where maybe there’s some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country, or in that state. There’s a real sense of pride that comes from those communities once they’ve had that chance to dig in and be a part of designing something for them.
The Transformational Power of the Outdoors
Rudy Fernandez 30:36
I do want to tell listeners that you are, to put it mildly, an outdoorsy person, you’ve ridden bikes, up mountains and you biked for 24 hours straight and 28 hours straight on one occasion. So you are one of those people you referenced before as those, you know, true outdoorsy person. What for you, personally connects with being outside?
I Ling Thompson 31:00
Yeah, oh, that’s a dreamy question. I’ll say this I find when there was a particular moment in my life, I was living in Atlanta, and I had some big life changes and getting outside in the woods of North Georgia introduced me to a whole different world. It really helps, I think, build my foundation, you know, people in their mid 20s, there’s a lot of different things you could do with your life. And so, for me, being outdoors has been transformational. And in many respects from sort of that pivotal moment when I went from being sort of an inside person, I would say to being an outside person. I continually go back and recharge. I enjoy the challenge of the physicality of saying, okay, it’s my mind and my body and we’re going to do a race up this mountain, I’m tackling this challenge. And it always astounds me how much you can actually do more than you think you can. And the outdoors teaches you that. I find myself retreating there at times I find myself reconnecting with people on a bike ride or a hike. It’s what drives me personally, to do this work, and to create opportunities for people to get outside. So I feel very fortunate to have had the experiences that I have. And I’m always looking for opportunities to take people out.
Disconnecting from Technology to Get Outside
Rudy Fernandez 32:36
You have obviously like the rest of us, modern obligations, and you have your phone and your computer and you’re constantly in touch. How do you separate from that busy techno world and say, take time to go ride a bike up a mountain?
I Ling Thompson 32:54
I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s hard to separate. But, you know, I find after about three days, if I’m lucky enough to break away for that long, it’s fantastic. This, for me, is why the need to have more close to home opportunities to get outside really speaks to me. I love every part of my life. I have a very dynamic life. I travel for work, I travel for fun. You know, I love the exercise. I love getting outside. I love spending time with friends and family and I choose communities that allow me to have recreation close to home. Great opportunities get out further when I can. I won’t lie, sometimes I check my phone. But there is nothing like getting outside even if it’s just for an hour or two. You know, every day there’s something incredibly powerful about that. And it reminds me that I need to disconnect more often than I do.
Rudy Fernandez 33:50
Okay, you’ve convinced me I need to do that.
I Ling Thompson 33:53
We got to go on a bike ride, Rudy.
Trends in Sustainability and Climate Change
Rudy Fernandez 33:56
Okay, so you’ve been in this space for a long time now. And by that I mean Outdoor preservation, not just the recreation. And it’s something obviously you’re very passionate about. So you’ve seen the trends over a period of time of all the changes you see happening. What excites you the most? And what concerns you the most?
I Ling Thompson 34:16
That’s a great question. For me, the thing that excites me the most is that nature and the future of the planet are really deeply in the public discourse. We’re seeing the younger generation rise up and really stand for more sustainability, addressing climate change. They’re having a voice to tell you these young people, Oh, my gosh, you know, the confidence and strength that they carry with them is incredibly inspiring. Yeah, they’re not asking for the torch. They’re grabbing it. They’re wrestling the torch, out of out of the hands of their elders, and they’re going to do some amazing things and I think that’s just so incredibly powerful.
We have it in the public land space. And just their unabashed commitment to fighting for what they believe I that inspires me every day. Yeah, what concerns me, there’s still much more to do, the state of the of the planet will require many to step forward with a really clear, shared vision for how to really solve things. Climate change, landing down and communities and we’re seeing those impacts of climate change happening every day in the places where we work. But again, it’s the young people, it’s the people with the deep commitment that give me deep hope for this work.
Rudy Fernandez 35:44
Yeah, they actually give me hope for everything. To be honest, older people always like to say young people nowadays. I’m not one of those people. Because I think younger people are so much brighter and so much more in tune.
I Ling Thompson 35:57
Yeah, I can’t agree more. It’s I’m just amazed. I walk into different events and things and you know, the younger generation, the rising generation, you know, they’re they aren’t afraid to step forward with their ideas and they’re going to make a real difference.
Rudy Fernandez 36:17
I’m very grateful I didn’t have to compete with them to get into college.
I Ling Thompson 36:22
I feel exactly the same.
Rudy Fernandez 36:25
Well, this has been a lot of fun, I Ling and it’s been great catching up and learning about the Trust for Public Land. Thanks for so for being on the on the show.
I Ling Thompson 36:32
Absolutely. It was really fun. I’ll talk to you soon, Rudy.
Rudy Fernandez 36:36
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