by Stephen Capra
This coming week, more than 20 people representing a number of conservation groups from Washington to New Mexico will meet in Boise at a conference we have been planning since last October. The purpose is to bring people and groups together that clearly understand wolf recovery is far from the success many now claim.
We are bringing together those groups with the heart and courage to speak boldly and share a commitment to work together. This is something people have been asking for the last twenty years from the conservation community, to change the current losing paradigm as it pertains to wolf recovery.
We are tired of begging elected officials, or suing some obscure entity. What is needed is to change the cultural norms that have long kept the West stuck in some 19th century wildlife management time warp.
Many people believe we can work with the livestock industry and rural communities who despise us as liberal elites. I understand their feelings and sometimes am frustrated by the conservation community which has gone from a movement, to a cozy career for many. If we are going to fight for wolves--I mean really fight--then this must be a movement, driven by passion and conviction, not by the false premise that we are looking for job security.
Martin Luther King believed in peaceful protest. He understood the movement he was at the forefront of was going to make the kind of change that would be met with violence, protest, the harsh arm of police and would likely take a generation or two to fulfill his vision. That he would even be criticized from within.
That is the plight of wolves.
If we continue to show no heart, no real courage, then we not only doom the West and the rest of the country to the slow death of our most prized wildlife, while a handful of elitists act like they are making progress with the livestock industry. We can march, we can fight back: create new language and begin to shame those who yield joy in killing innocents, killing the wildness that is nature.
We must understand most, but not all, wear hats--black or white, straw or hide, that partner with those who carry traps to scar our landscape and instill a fear and prejudice with agencies and elected officials who cower by their perceived power and allow such prejudice to become institutionalized.
Our goal is to change that perception and make those who kill; those who trap no longer enjoy the inoculation of fools, but to feel the power of people no longer willing to accept such Barbary.
It will be a very interesting few days, to reinvigorate a movement. For this is a movement, one that makes clear mistakes have been made on all sides, but understands that justice and empowering the land, comes from a commitment to forcing change. Like so many before us the change may not occur overnight, but we are committed to making that change now, not two or three generations from now.
We will face criticism from our enemies, but sadly also from our peers.
One thing is clear in my soul, the day will come when a wolf will cross my path on the trail, and I (we) will know that our efforts were righteous and just. We will have the pride of knowing we did the right thing for all wolves and predators. The goal simply-that with such commitment our actions renewed not just the spirit of our blessed animals, lands and waters, but rejuvenated that which defines wildness.
This is our escutcheon; we will wear it with humility and with pride.
Bold Visions remains short of the funding needed for this meeting! Please take a moment and consider a contribution today: click the donate button on any page!
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