by Stephen Capra
It’s that time of year again, when we all come together with family and friends and share a meal of gratitude and celebration for the past years efforts. It is also a time to give thanks. So we thought we would take a moment to do just that. Thank-you for your support!!
Over the past year, Bold Visions Conservation, while growing has been able to be a voice for many new conservation initiatives. Last week, we returned from North Carolina where we met with conservation groups that are major players in the state including the Environmental Defense Fund, Environment North Carolina, the North Carolina Coastal Federation and the Southern Environmental Law Center to name just a few. They came together for a meeting designed to educate about fighting the oil and gas industry and working to create a massive marine sanctuary off the coast of North Carolina. It’s something we have worked on for the past year. Getting everyone in one room for close to seven hours was fantastic and naturally we learned much about what the groups in North Carolina are dealing with; a radically right state House and Senate and now the election of an anti-woman, anti-environmental Senator. These groups are working in a very hostile environment and our hope is to lend the support and experience that can help them be successful in fighting the evils and misinformation of the oil and gas industry!
Another major emphasis has been our work to create a new wolf coalition. I was part of the creation of one of the original wolf coalitions. One that I personally was thrown out of two months later in part because they viewed my anti-ranching and refusal to allowing killing of wolves as to “radical.” Now we have spoken to groups including Friends of the Clearwater, Predator Defense, Wild Earth Guardians, Trap Free Montana to name just a few to meet in Idaho during the third week in February to forge a new coalition, one that will stand up to ranching and livestock interests, to state Game and Fish Departments and work to create a new voice that demands justice and expansion of wolf range while educating the public and pressuring elected officials to stop catering to a special interest group that continues to enjoy the largesse of the federal government. We have also hired Trisha Cook who lives in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, and begun working directly on wolf issues in Washington State. The killing of packs to appease ranchers in eastern Washington has hit a very unsustainable level. Our goal is to have her organize in more urban communities and open a chapter of Bold Visions on the campuses of the universities in the state.
In addition, working directly with renowned paleontologist Robert Sullivan and the Back Country Hunters and Anglers along with the BLM, we have been working and meeting with our delegation to push the concept of wilderness for a BLM Wilderness Study Area rich in history, paleontology; a land that abuts Chaco Canyon and would provide a larger buffer for this beautiful landscape, while stopping a proposal to create a massive open-pit coal mine.
We have brought former New Mexico Wilderness Alliance staff scientist Steve West onboard to help us with projects for school children in low-income families that need access to wild nature, and we continue to push a proposal to connect school children in Big Bend National Park and the bordering community of Boquillas, Mexico to work together on projects in the Park and in the Mexican community. We are being aided by support from the Center of Southwest Culture who have years of experience working on such issues. These are exciting times and there is tremendous opportunity to move forward on a range of conservation issues!
Bold Visions Conservation remains a young and vital conservation organization. We bring the experience of creating two National Monuments and starting many campaigns for conservation into what we call a Bold and progressive organization. We believe that to protect our planet means that you must take on those who would destroy it. So we can be harsh on Republicans, but so to on Democrats we see as negligent in their duties. We understand that public lands grazing is the greatest environmental impact to our beloved western lands and we believe that wolves belong in the wild, free from the torture of trapping or the killing that a segment of our population seems to think is their eternal right.
If we want to change conservation we must understand the connective tissue that links it with our modern world. If we disregard a woman’s right to choose, we are accepting her as less. If people of color face discrimination, then we all lose. If we support wars in the Middle-East to extend our use of fossil fuels, then we are losing. How can we demand justice for the wolf, when innocent people live twenty-three hours a day in solitary confinement for forty years in our own country? Groups like to speak of a human connection to nature, we believe we must make the connection and do so as we do our conservation work, with conviction.
We set out to be a new type of conservation group. We may not engage in all these fights, our focus is in conservation; but we feel we must talk about and demand justice and work to control our population, because people will not fight for the environment, when they refuse to even fight for themselves, their neighbors and for simple justice.
In the coming year you can expect more great videos from staffer Joe Adair, likely a new look website from him as well. We are not content to sit by idly just because Republicans are now in control of the House and Senate. There is work to be done, more Monuments to create and battles in the US and abroad which can support and educate.
There are many groups that ask for your support. But if you are a person that believes in true grassroots, not litigation, in organizing for change and speaking the truth; then understand how far your investment goes into a small, progressive environmental group such as Bold Visions Conservation who use small staffs and shoe leather to make a difference!
We continue to reach out and create true coalitions, that are working to fight not just those who work to destroy, but also some national conservation groups that have lost their edge and integrity in their endless pursuit of money, at the cost of wolves shot and wilderness lost.
The earth is crying out for our help and on this Thanksgiving week, we are proud to say, we are responding to the call!
Please enjoy the week ahead, and share this special time with people and pets that add meaning to your life.
Many thanks for your support and we hope you will be generous to our efforts in the remaining days of 2014, enjoy a tax benefit and continue to help in supporting our goals.
Also, consider a donation to our crowdsourcing fundraiser for the wolf summit.
Bold Visions Conservation
by Stephen Capra
This past week saw Bold Visions Conservation in North Carolina, where we led the conversation of a consortium of conservation groups about the future of North Carolina’s coast, a place Big Oil and its allies have targeted. For many of the North Carolina groups, it was yet another fight in a state that has seen Republicans destroy anything that resembles the betterment of all people.
While I was there I happened to catch an interview with a man who was talking about how Obamacare had saved his life. The interview was quite moving as the man broke down and made a simple and transcending remark, “What has happened to our society, people no longer seem to care about one another anymore.” His reference was in response to people hating Obamacare and wanting to gut healthcare for those less fortunate.
We have devolved; it seems, into a nation that far more resembles 1930’s Germany than the country that once stood for equality and justice for all. I say this in the context of when a nation begins to care more for individuals than the common good; we are on the wrong path.
Which takes us to the fight for our planet……..
The recent election manifested the reality that many have given up on the political system, and with this apathy, comes the voice of the individual, which yields power to the Koch Brothers as Kings, while depriving our huddled masses justice. If America will not invest in its own people with Health care and upholding woman’s right to choose, what chance will wolves have in the wild? Respecting all people, leads to the prosperity of our common quality of life, but defiling a group, or passing laws to harm a constituency, has the effect, much like war, of long-term damage that takes generations to heal.
This is why fighting for wolves and protecting lands and waters from oil development requires that we speak about and engage in issues that might seem unrelated, but in reality are part of the integration of life and set the stage for protections of all species.
If we support war in the Middle-East, then we are saying that fossil fuels must be an integral part of our future and we are willing to kill people under the guise of nation building. Our Congress does all it can to prop up Big Oil, Ranchers, and King Coal with subsidies, while killing the life of the very people they are in Congress to serve; and doing all they can to ignore climate change and the future of energy-safe, clean alternatives like solar.
If we are to create a true commons in America, we must go back to a country on the Hill that at least we believe once existed. Health care, true equality for all and stopping the military-industrial complex, which continues to starve our economy, these are important steps in protecting wolves in the wild; our beautiful oceans, and the wilderness that defines Alaska and the West. They are part of forcing America to remember the common good of shared grace, that when we protect wildness, we protect a part of our soul.
America the Beautiful was a song of the purpose and beauty of a place we call America. The new shining seas are dying; the West coast is defined by Tech firms eating their young. In the prairie lands women must drive for hours to obtain the rights to have control over their bodies and in the east the military controls Washington while Republicans look to make America a new image of England of the 1800’s.
We can do far better, but we must understand that like our environment, we are all interconnected, as are the issues that define us as a nation preparing for 2015.
“The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as a gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath."
--Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice
by Stephen Capra
We stand three days away from an election that defies reality. With the economy heading upward, with unemployment at its lowest level in years, Americans are poised to allow Republicans to regain control of the Senate.
The reasons are varied, but one thing is clear, the environment is not one of them. In fact, it's not even on the radar of most Americans. The UN has once again posted dire warnings concerning Global Climate change and the impacts on the planet, yet when asked Republicans have an interesting answer-“Well, I am not a scientist, so I am not sure what is causing this.”
Really? This is coming from a party that tells women how to control their uterus; that tells western states that selling off public lands makes sense for ending our debt or perhaps fights any wildlife species that stands in the path of oil and gas development.
We all know Washington is broken and that Democrats are in many cases only marginally better at protecting wild nature, but they are willing to accept science, they are willing to protect lands; they are willing to say NO to big oil and perhaps more importantly, they are not going to suddenly make Americans believe that they are not a scientist, therefore they cannot say or do anything to stop global climate change. No they are going to take a stand for our survival!
This past week saw the news that Richard Berman, the oil and gas political consultant, a real parasite, who now wants to target and embarrass conservationists who stand in the way of fracking or drilling.
This new wave of hate towards those who fight for the planet is becoming the norm in the desensitization of the human race as we try to remove the forces of evil that continue to profit at the expense of life as we know it.
This Tuesday we will see some real changes in the direction of our country, unless the pollsters are wrong. The President will share the blame for his less than inspiring leadership and allowing the door to be opened for a Bull headed right wing leader to once again lead our country astray. Fox news and the “Drill baby drill” contingency will continue to convince Americans that domestic drilling is our salvation and we will witness more spills and more lands destroyed, species lost to a growing wave of ignorance and disconnection to our natural world.
We all are responsible, and we all know the toll that allowing the oil and gas industry to continue its titanic destruction of our planet is costing future generations.
We can allow a group of rich industrialists to control the planet and vote in their hand-picked front men or we can vote in unison and tell them to “Sit down and shut-up!
Bold Visions Conservation