Written by Marina Lundy, CVI Voter Outreach Specialist
Today we have the joy of celebrating 18 years of Conservation Voters for Idaho. We are finally old enough to vote! Since our founding in 2005, CVI has been dedicated to protecting Idaho’s natural environment, advocating for solid environmental policies, and supporting pro-conservation candidates on both sides of the political aisle. Through CVI’s work over almost two decades, we have accomplished the creation of Climate Action Murals in collaboration with the Garden City Placemaking Fund, helped to secure the Boulder-White Clouds as a national wilderness area, supported the Boise Open Space Levy (which, once passed, added to the Hillside Hollow Reserve).
We’ve celebrated many other incredible wins, not just for open space and climate but for our right to vote, access to the ballot box, air and water quality, and more of what makes Idaho such an incredible place to live.
Many of our most notable successes in the last 18 years have originated from our work in the Idaho statehouse. CVI plays an active, engaged role each year in the state legislature, advocating for strong environmental policies and fighting against legislation harming Idaho’s natural environment. Over the years, CVI helped support the passing of several laws to protect Idaho’s air and water quality, preserve public lands, and promote clean energy.
This year alone, we worked closely with the Office of the Governor to secure $95 million for outdoor recreation and conservation funding for Idaho’s Department of Parks and Recreation. We also succeeded in shutting down SJR 101, a bill that would have jeopardized Idahoans’ constitutional right to use ballot initiatives to make positive change independently of the legislature.
The number of Idahoans who have stepped up to make their voice heard on conservation issues continues to assure us that our work is making a difference and keeps us pushing for proper representation of Idaho values by our lawmakers.
As Idaho’s only conservation organization dedicated to engaging in the electoral process, CVI has been indispensable in advancing environmental policies in Idaho by starting at the ballot box. Through our endorsement process, CVI identifies and supports candidates who share its commitment to protecting Idaho’s natural environment. Thanks to the numbers of our supporters that turn out to vote, we are consistently successful in electing pro-conservation candidates at the local and state level. One of these candidates was current Boise Mayor Lauren McLean, whose bold, game-changing leadership has helped to make Boise a leader in climate action in the West, addressed our city’s intense growth and developed solutions to connect our communities, making Boise a city for everyone to live, work, and play.
We can’t discuss CVI’s successes without highlighting our groundbreaking Boards and Commissions program. The first of its kind in the country, this program trains and supports Idahoans from underrepresented communities to serve on local and state boards and commissions related to natural resource management, land use, education, and other critical environmental issues. Through this program, CVI has helped ensure that decision-making bodies across Idaho have the expertise and knowledge to protect Idaho’s natural resources, particularly emphasizing the leadership of women, BIPOC, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
We are proud to have spent the last eighteen years pushing for significant, positive changes for Idaho’s lands, waters, air, and right to vote. Our work is more important than ever as we look to the future. By continuing to advocate for strong environmental policies, support pro-environment candidates, and ensure that decision-making bodies have the expertise necessary to make informed decisions, CVI will continue to play a critical role in protecting Idaho’s natural environment for generations to come.
Our work is made possible by you, our dedicated supporters, joining us in speaking for Idaho’s natural environment and the communities that depend on it. We are grateful to each of you for your steadfast support for CVI and all we represent.
Here’s to many more years of stewardship, leadership, and conservation.