Andrea Lawrence: Community Advocate and Philosophical Thinker

More on the personal philosophy of Andrea Mead Lawrence who passed away Monday night. andrea_lawrence_bday.jpg

As we said yesterday, Lawrence became the environmental conscience of the Eastern Sierra. Her leadership in an early 70s lawsuit against a development in Mammoth solidified the California Environmental Quality Act as a tool of protection.

Lawrence spoke to our Cleland Hoff four years ago about her love of the landscape. Lawrence referred to Chinese philosophy and the belief that mountains literally give inspiration to people. Add rivers and you have a complete landscape of yin and yang qualities, she said.

Lawrence believed that the people who live in the Eastern Sierra must stand up for their feelings about where they live. "The heart and soul of a community are the people who live there. That's what really counts," said Lawrence, "and they're the ones who have to stand up and be counted when their quality of life, their sense of well being, their sense of commitment to where they live is threatened. They have to come together and take on the town."

The Advocates of Mammoth, Lawrence said, have done a good job. She said it's too bad those who go against the powers that be face vilification. Lawrence said she was vilified in her work as a County Supervisor; but she said she has a strong belief system, and "if I'm in a position of responsibility, there's no way I'll back down."

Lawrence seemed to have an almost mystical bent. She told Cleland that her main work in life was work on her inner self. She wrote a book in 1980 on that, called "A Practice of Mountains".

The depth of her understanding of life was revealed early on. Lawrence talked about a state of consciousness when she skied that she called "in the zone". She said she had no intellectual approach to skiing. Instead, she seemed to merge with the activity to the point of excellence.

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