Many people continue to wonder about the fate of our planet and how the conservation community can best be equipped to deal with the realities in America of a congress that is not just broken but angry. Many of those connected with the Foundation Community continue the pursuit of finding common ground and looking for ways to have republicans and democrats work on solutions for the environment.'
This as I have mentioned before this resulted in a major investment in the sportsmen community and allowing groups like Conservation Voters to continue a philosophy of supporting republicans with decent conservation records, usually 60% who are up for reelection, rather than a more conservation-minded democrat. As a result, we are seeing a republican party more determined than ever to fight global climate change remedies, to stop wilderness in its tracks. More determined to fight the EPA and any effort to protect species which are endangered if it means hurting the fossil fuel industry?
At its core the United States as we know it has changed, perhaps some would argue the power and industrial might of China has changed our sense of dominance. Others with real justification point to yet another of our failed wars, this one Iraq, which bled us of money that should have gone into job creation, infrastructure and making alternative energy a priority.
Add to this some important things-the rise of the Tea Party and the on-air dominance of FOX News. FOX News creates a virtual 24 hour news barrage which hates environmentalists, that blames species for stopping jobs and creates a forum for people to blame, rather than work to create change. The Supreme Court allowing corporations to have feeling and granting those with wealth to control our election process to date has done little to support conservation.
Add to that volatile mix the Tea Party, and what is created is a large group that supposedly hates government, which of course is the entity which manages our public lands, which creates the laws that protect us from air and water pollution, work to reintroduce wolves and create laws to fight climate change. Actually, since congress is broken, that falls to the President to ignore their stupidity and take charge via Executive Order.
So it seems that the rules by which the conservation and Foundations have operated for the past twenty years or so have changed. Yes, we can reach across the aisle to some extent, we can continue to try and find compromise, but we face diminishing returns, not by our efforts, but by the climate in which we operate.
As we continue to search for common ground and look means of compromise, our opposition, which has endless cash and media is aggressively pushing an agenda which is designed to make us irrelevant.
For conservation to maintain a voice moving forward, we must adjust to our new reality. That means speaking with conviction and offering a vision that excites and captivates a nation. It means creating a unified strategy and pushing aside groups like the Nature Conservancy which profit by damaging conservation's moral direction and supporting some damaging initiatives.
It means giving resources not to tired groups that lack the fight and investing in those that show a will to win and a determination to fight for the land, air, water and species that define the richness of EARTH. Many will say ignore the FOX News world, but you simply cannot ignore the messenger that dominates the airwaves. Imagine if you are one of the many Americans that make FOX your news source, in an average night you are exposed to an hour, maybe two of their propaganda, which is twenty percent Tea Party and at least ten minutes of oil and gas lies via commercials. How does that form your reality and how does that impact our efforts?
You see this is not a country club affair, it is a real war. It’s a battle not for just a monument or a pack of wolves; it’s a battle for this place called Earth.
The reality is stark, and yes we are enjoying small successes and young people are getting the message. But the importance of the next twenty years cannot be understated, if we cannot create a sea change of thinking, time will run out on our watch. For foundations and the conservation community-our time is now!
Our time means not fearing the fight and not cowering from those who mean us harm. Not drowning in science, but standing tall on conviction and principle. We know the journey is tough, but we need the resources and focus, and we certainly need the heart, to make conservation a core principle in an America that has lost its direction and its sense of community.
Wild Nature and a clean environment are tools to regaining America’s heart and soul. Our willingness to fight is the battle which will lead our country towards greatness once again.
Bold Visions Conservation