by Stephen Capra
After returning from Idaho, where we held our first wolf conference, I have spent considerable time thinking about the state of the environment as a whole and the human response to it.
The reality short of one living in an isolation tank is that the earth is in critical condition. If earth was a car, it would be broken down on the side of the road, if it were a human, it would be in intensive care. Yet, for many charged with protecting it, it remains a compromise affair and for those who see it as an organism to use for profit, well nothing ever changes.
While many good things are occurring, they are being overshadowed by the bad. Television and Hollywood act as a metaphor in many ways, with endless shows and movies about the end of the world, the stories of lone survivors, of cities abandoned or zombie filled. Such creations reflect the subconscious of many in the modern world. The news brings us stories of melting ice, groups like ISIS and their end of the world prophecy, reading about many evangelical Christians; they too seem committed to an end-of-the-world mindset, one that continues to pilfer the earth to help bring their End Game.
I mention this not to depress, but to raise the question again: from wolves to oil, from climate change to wilderness, the conservation community continues to set the bar too low. Compromise, while essential, creating coalitions, while the lifeblood of campaigns, should be part of a strategy that says stop the killing, set aside, not small pieces, but vast tracts of land; stop damming rivers, set them free and protect our oceans and fish as part of protecting humanity.
What is causing such a rant? Well it comes in part from our Wolf Coalition meeting. For more than twenty years, we have watched this species be released into the wild--only to be slaughtered--while many in the conservation community have profited and largely allowed the slaughter to continue. The reason once again is that what began as a movement, has devolved into a job, one where taking risk or demanding real change has you are 'thrown out of the fraternity.'
No one need be violent or reckless; what we need to be is strong in conviction and determined to remove earth from life support and back to healthy and vibrant. So when it comes to issues like wolves or predators we have only one job: to end trapping, to stop all killing of wolves and to do it with a sense of purpose that one remembered yesterday in Selma.
For the earth is perhaps our greatest civil right. Its beings a gift to our lives! Large corporations must not be empowered, but shamed. Those who kill coyotes and wolves, hunt for trophies must see their rights to slaughter ended and must also be shamed. Companies that pollute, while stealing our health and that of the earth must be shuttered, not rewarded with tax incentives. We must begin to address perhaps the most profound issue, that of overpopulation.
The earth is showing scars and wounds that are deep and revealing, from the destruction in the Amazon, to the oil spills in our oceans; from the killing of the magnificent elephant for ivory, to the tar sands of Alberta; this, along with endless dam building in our remotest corners is literally killing our planet.
Rather than choose to compromise, it is time to take tough stands, to demand far more of our elected officials and to stop allowing the monopolies of the conservation movement, our largest organizations to continue to compromise and appease those who will kill and plunder our great planet.
We must inject Winston Churchill, not swallow a Neville Chamberlain approach to dealing with our adversaries. If we choose to fight, we will begin the process changing minds and hearts and gaining the respect that comes from fighting for justice.
Wolves are but the start, the chance to be strong, to rekindle a movement and draw the strength needed to fight on. This is about far more than us, it is about a conviction that lies in all our hearts, one that reflects the love we feel for this place called earth.
Bold Visions Conservation