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To many, the life that Dave Staver walked away from was perfect: he practiced corporate law for a big firm in San Francisco and traveled all over the country. Most people would find it hard to leave a well-paying job and comfortable lifestyle. But Dave is not like most people.
After six years of corporate law, working for giant corporations, Dave realized that he was not being true to his conscience. Time and again, he found that he had greater compassion for the person across the table from him than his own clients, and could no longer stomach working for the paycheck alone.
In an effort to satisfy his soul, Dave left the city and became a volunteer resident at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts. He spent a year and a half studying eastern contemplative traditions and volunteered in exchange for his room, board and teachings.
Volunteerism has always played an integral role in Dave’s life. The first time he volunteered was as a sixth grader teaching second graders to read at his elementary school. Dave remembers enjoying this so much that he was confused by the praise he received from teachers and parents. He wasn’t used to getting attention for doing things that were fun.
Since this first act of volunteerism, Dave has spent countless hours volunteering. Even when he was working 65-hour weeks as a lawyer, he was a volunteer staff attorney for the East Bay Community Law Center. One evening a week Dave and a friend commuted across the Bay to staff a poverty law clinic at a junior college in East Oakland. When they arrived, there was always a long line of people waiting to get help – sometimes 20 or 30 – but regardless of the time, the clinic remained open until everyone was seen.
These days, Dave Staver devotes much of his volunteer time and energy to OLCV’s Deschutes County steering committee, on which he has served for three years.
“I don't see environmental protection and stewardship as a political issue as much as a moral issue. To my mind, anything that so clearly benefits society as a whole, as well as future generations, should not be party-specific, nor should it be associated with one side of the political spectrum,” Dave says.
“I believe that whether they know it or not, anyone who breathes air or drinks water is an environmentalist,” he continues. “But because many people would not characterize themselves in this way, I see an opportunity for OLCV to help people expand their definition of "environmentalist" and understand how conservation efforts benefit them on a personal level.”
The Deschutes County steering committee is honored to have Dave Staver as a member. We thank him for his hard work and dedication.
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In my role on the Clackamas County OLCV steering committee, I am presented with new and exciting avenues of personal engagement in environmental conservation and political action.
Kelly Bantle, Clackamas County steering committee member