by Stephen Capra
On Monday, I will board a plane for North Carolina, adding my name to those who impact climate change in the world. My goal is to meet with conservationists in the state to push for the protection of their coast, through the creation of a National Monument. As I head to the coast, I will pass by the Wildlife Refuge that is home to the small remaining packs of Red Wolves, which US Fish and Wildlife Service is pushing to de-list, pass by rivers that have been impacted by coal ash spills and pig farms, to spend time with people who have been completely exhausted fighting off the insanity of a state controlled by an aggressive right-wing agenda.
For conservationists in the state it has been a grueling legislative session that extended two months longer than normal. They were forced to fight issues ranging from coal ash, to fracking...any number of anti-environmental agendas that powerful interests push, for a quick profit for shareholders--at the expense of everyone’s quality of life. What results, is the destruction of enormous swaths of wildlife habitat.
I mention this as a precursor to things to come, should Republicans take control of the Senate and ultimately the White House. First, the wolf issue. One of the reasons Bold Visions Conservation feels so strongly about changing the way the wolf recovery program has been run by National Conservation groups is that the incremental change they feel is politically savvy and acceptable to ranching interests will be completely shut down by a Republican White House and our meek progress will be destroyed.
Republicans have a taste of Andrew Jackson in their blood currently. It was Jackson that sold off our eastern public lands during his tenure to reduce the federal debt. In states like New Mexico our Republican governor has put together a task force to study lands that could be sold off. Those efforts are being repeated by Republican lawmakers across the West, to prepare for the day when they can sell off or gain control of wilderness lands, or forward more bills that will specify that lands be used for profit, not protection of species. In terms of wildlife, it will be a return to 19th century thinking: in other words, it will be a reckless slaughter of imperiled species so that oil, gas and mining industries can plunder our birthright.
We can do far better, but despite my frustration with elected officials, I understand one thing clearly. If we allow this group of corporate driven extremists to gain control, we will find ourselves spinning in a triage mode of vainly trying to maintain, hold on and accept loses that we never dreamed possible.
That same reality holds true when corporate conservationists try to control wilderness or wolf recovery. They emulate the very people we fight, except those we fight are bold and aggressive.
We live in a time when we are so close to creating a new world order of sharing the lands and moving away from fossil fuels and into renewables. We are on the ten yard line, but our opponents are poised to set us back into the Stone Age. To change that equation, we must demand so much more of both conservationists and elected officials.
In the end, we must have a vision, one that is grand in scale and designed to heal the wounds left by years of destruction and blind ignorance. Wolves, wilderness and oil left in the ground and ocean are all key ingredients to a future that allows us a glimpse of our past.
The earth is crying loudly to us, for it has grown tired of man’s stupidity and self-absorbed actions. Our vision must be one that allows for all species, not just man to thrive. It’s not oil we need, its sanity, that it seems requires leadership.
For the earth’s sake, that time has come.
If you follow the Herd, you'll end up stepping in Shit.
Bold Visions Conservation