Friends, Theoretically there is nothing holy about numbers, but still we humans respond to symbols, including numerical markers. Maybe that is why I cannot contain my excitement that our membership during this last month reached the 500-person mark. What’s of course even more amazing is the breadth of our membership, not only in terms of geography (28 countries and all 50 US states) but also in terms of occupation, talents, and age (our average year of birth is now 1960, but the actual range is from 1922 to 1996). On RNAnet we had a long discussion about our gender distribution, and the mathematicians there poo-poohed my fascination that the ratio remains almost precisely 70/30 males to females, day in and day out (it creeps away from that ratio and then returns, over and over). I think that is amazing, but apparently it has something to do with factors beyond my grasp.
We have to keep working on that, and it is a good time to do so, because this is our fourth year of existence. That means next year will trigger several changes we contemplated from the outset. Our initial organizational articles and by-laws (and some great volunteers) got us going, but we always figured we’d need to re-think some of our structure once we proved we could survive for five years. We’ve survived quite well – that 500 mark was achieved with virtually no overt attempt to grow, and nowadays people are finding us through a nice variety of paths, including of course word-of-mouth by many of you.
All of that is to say any input from you would be very welcome on what changes you’d like to see considered, including changes in emphasis. In particular, if any of you lawyers (or others with interest and/or experience in corporate governance) would like to join me in thinking about what by-law changes to propose to our Board, that would be much appreciated. Just send me an e-mail that you’d be willing to serve on a working group, and we’ll get started. We have almost a year, but it will probably take that long.
It is an exciting time for naturalism, and a challenging time, especially in terms of protecting our environment. Not only that, but the real challenge for naturalism is to motivate one another to not only love and enjoy nature, but to be committed to nature. That is of course part of why our name has “religious” in it.
I’m exulting in and contemplating the changes we call Autumn here in the northern hemisphere, and thinking about those of you experiencing the renewal of Spring in the south, not to mention all the gradations in between – where latitude or altitude add subtlety and diversity to the supposed finite categories of “Season.”
Michael Cavanaugh, Secretary