With Vision, There is Hope!
Bruce Vincent is a third-generation logger from Libby, Montana, and co-owner of the community outreach firm Environomics.
Bruce speaks throughout the United States and the world, testifies on resource issues before Congress and has appeared on several news programs such as “60 Minutes”. Bruce has been named Timberman of the Year in Montana, National Forest Activist of the Year, received the inaugural Presidential Preserve America Award from President Bush, has been named ‘Keeper of the 10th’ by Women in Farm Economics and received American Agri-Women’s Veritas Award. Bruce serves on several boards including the Evergreen Foundation and is President of the Libby Chamber of Commerce. His recently completed book, “Against The Odds”, highlights his life journey and identifies a path forward for rural America.
Bruce has been married to his wife Patti Jo for 46 years and has four children and 15 grandchildren. His current activities represent a family commitment to responsible environmentalism.
It is time for change – and change will be our friend. America is ready for a new vision of conservation and environmental stewardship that is based upon hope instead of fear. In order to share this vision we must first reintroduce the American consumer to the processes and the people of production and then lead – not just fight – the discussion over our environment. Those who work at the ground level in implementing society’s framework for protecting the environment are positioned at the leading edge of the changes and challenges of this discussion. That edge provides exciting opportunities and hope.
Check Out Bruce‘s New Book
When Bruce’s school principal told his parents he was too smart to be a logger, everything changed. Set apart from a family heritage society had deemed not ‘good enough’ for a smart son, Bruce’s childhood was tortured by the thought of leaving a life he loved.
Dutifully, he moved away, went to college and got a job in a city. Until he and his wife, fed up with their ill-suited life, shucked all social expectations and moved their family back to Libby, Montana. Expecting to settle into a hard but rewarding life in logging, Bruce’s family and community were rocked by a growing antagonism towards their industry. Soon, he was thrust into the forefront of a national debate in which loggers were denigrated for destroying the environment.
Dubbed the Timber Wars, the conflict raged from the late 80s through the 90s, while Bruce was front and center, working himself to exhaustion to preserve their heritage and ensure good forest management.
As the logging contracts dried up, he could only watch in agony as his family’s business closed and his community began to fall apart. Bruce and his fellow loggers had become Public Enemy No. 1 and their livelihoods were being eradicated. Yet Americans continued to enjoy their wood furniture and products. Only now, timber imports were on the rise and our national forests were exploding into flames from a massive fuel overload that management and controlled logging could have mitigated.
Confronting this harsh reality, he and his team faced the hardest work yet – looking in the mirror. What had they been doing wrong? What can we do to work towards real, meaningful progress?