From the Publisher


by Chris Klein
hile I was growing up, I was surrounded by heroes - at least, stories of heroes. I don't know what the actual individuals were like, but their story personas all tended to have a lot in common.
Rugged individualists, they set off following some private vision. They followed that vision in the face of indifference, lack of agreement, or outright scorn and hostility. They usually persevered in achieving their private vision, which in retrospect turned out to be to our benefit as well (which is why they're not just forgotten). Even when they didn't succeed, there was some noble element that distinguished them even in failure.
They mostly tended to be humble, often loners. In any case, they didn't think of themselves as heroes. When they spoke of themselves at all, it was generally as "just plain folks." They were just doing what they felt they had to do. Political correctness aside, the image of the pioneer of the Old West comes to mind.
Since I have been active in the environmental community - over the previous five years or so - I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of "just plain folks," often pioneers in their own right, that fit this ad hoc characterization of hero pretty closely. Let's face it: indifference, lack of agreement, outright scorn and hostility are pretty common reactions to those working for the environment.
The EarthFair this April was full of heroes. About half of the 279 exhibitors were non-profit organizations, and half of those are really small - just a couple of folk trying to make a difference. Take a good look at the non-profit environmental directory. If you want to find some heroes, this is a good place to start.
Take the case of Carl Worl, featured in this issue's cover story about sea turtles. His life pattern has been: work in the United States, save money, then go to Mexico and work to save the sea turtles until the money runs out. Then do it again. This is not the easiest way to live your life, but for Carl, it is the only way.
I'm sure that Carl doesn't think of himself as a hero, but I do.
We can be very stingy with the title "hero." I've heard it said: We have no contemporary heroes; not because there are no heroes, but because they are our contemporaries.
Don't be stingy. Who do you know that's a hero? Let them know, and give they your support.

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