At the June meeting of Virginia Tech’s Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program, students examined environmental advocacy and the ways in which groups can influence and prompt change using various tactics and approaches, with a focus on regional issues. Advocacy is one of the most important and powerful tools for accomplishing sustainability goals. However, rather than being a single tool, advocacy is a collection of tools that can be brought to bear depending on the situation, the goal, and the nature of the advocacy target.

This year, the focus was on the Chesapeake Bay watershed. XMNR faculty member Joe Maroon discussed the Bay’s current health, sharing the progress made in addressing challenges such as air pollution, damming, and climate change, but noting “the next 10 years will be challenging. The easy stuff is done. We need people to do more, not less.” Mr. Maroon brings to the classroom his 30 years of experience as an environmental advocate, and 16 years as the Virginia director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

For more information on the power of advocacy in addressing environmental issues, check out XMNR alumna Elizabeth Hurley’s blog post on Boundary Spanning Leadership!