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Conrad Matiuk

City: Lexington

Country: US

Impact Narrative

Conrad’s proposal for OVER:

I am on the Board of Directors of the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC) whose mission is to promote the wise stewardship and sustainable use of natural and cultural resources through education, advocacy, and action in order to protect and enhance the quality of life for present and future inhabitants of Rockbridge County, Virginia. In addition, I am the Communications liaison for Let’s Talk About Water (LTAW), an organization whose main goals are to bring clarity and understanding to the water crisis and its solutions; to facilitate conversation between experts and students, and provide a forum for debate around water science and policy; to promote water and earth science education; and to engage general citizenry in public policy and water solutions. Each of these organizations sponsors public events either at colleges and universities throughout the United States or, in the case of RACC, more locally with like-minded state and local agencies as well as non-governmental conservation oriented entities up and down Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Through my involvement as a volunteer with these two organizations has enabled me to discern a very real – – and growing – – concern amongst the general public that there are environmental and sustainability issues that are occurring in our “backyards” that, because of the interdependence and interconnectedness of our global society, are inescapable even in what used to be considered “sleepy southern Virginia.”


I had the opportunity to review a copy of the book lent to me by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund and found the message extremely compelling – – and made even more so by the inclusion vivid and powerful images. I have just finished reading “Big World Small Planet” by John Rockstrom and Mattias Klum which also presents a powerful case. It is a book, however, probably better suited for a more academic audience whereas “Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot” would be more suitable for the public fora held by RACC and the LTAW organizations. Rockbridge County is also home to three universities (Washington & Lee, Virginia Military Institute, and Southern Virginia University) and each one of those institutions encourages its students to become actively involved within the community. These students – – and young people in general – – are tuned in to environmental issues and there are numerous clubs and informal student-led, student-organized community-oriented volunteer bodies that assist RACC as well as other local conservation groups. A book such as this would be an outstanding centerpiece for any number of discussions and spin-off projects that, on a small scale, can be the seminal models for larger efforts these students will take forward with them when they graduate. Progress often starts small, on the local level, with ideas nurtured within curious and absorbent young minds. I can easily see this book opening up many eyes in this corner of Virginia.”

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