For the past month, (and since our inception,) Bold Visions Conservation has worked to end the madness that is the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission. During this month, we have also been in southern Florida working to save a vital estuary; one filled with manatee, dolphin, sea turtles and the rare sawfish. In New Mexico, we’re trying to protect predators like wolves, bears, mountain lions and coyotes from an inhumane Commission. In southern Florida, that same lack of humanity is on display with the local Town Council and in state officials, who live off the nectar of developers to stay in power; although our Game Commission feeds from a different teat, the results are similar.
Volume in this case is a metaphor for pressure. The recent decision by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to resume the release Mexican wolves into the wild is a result, not just of common sense, but of the pressure that activists and citizens of New Mexico succeeded in through letters, calls, media pressure and imploring the agency to do its job! Relaxing now is not an option, rather now is the time to use this reprieve to build the pressure on this Commission, and the very concept of the Commission.
Our volume might come in the form of ramping up the input the Governor receives. We are busy signing up businesses to support our push to reform the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission. This is important and we need the number to grow! We have begun outreach to the religious community, for it is clear that destroying “God’s Creation” is not a fitting or logical aspect of humanity; nor for that matter is the wholesale destruction of the environment. So if you know a religious leader of any stripe, we would like them to please support our effort.
Volume must come in many forms, to that end the upcoming legislative session will be important for introducing new ways of looking at how this agency spends its money, or how commissioners are allowed to spend time on ranches clearly being lobbied without more sunshine. Why the commission itself has no environmental representation and why the agency still does not believe in using peer reviewed science?
But this fight must be waged on a national level as well. As we have seen when things are left to states to decide, the results are rarely in the favor of wildlife or our environment. Now there are exceptions to this; think California, or decisions like that of Washington State’s Governor Jay Inslee, who recently challenged his Game Commission on their decision to expand mountain lion killing.
What we want is for these exceptions to become the rule. One feasible way for that to happen, is to revisit the federal legislation known as Pittman-Robertson, the law which designates an 11% surcharge on firearms and ammunition. As a major funding source for state game agencies nationally, a revision of this law that could state that “no funding from this surcharge can be used to promote the killing of predator species” or “no funding from this federal grant can be used to license, support or encourage trapping” or “such funding cannot be used to permit animal killing contests or support their function” or “states must now use 25% of this government issued funding for the study and protection of predator species.”
The script can be written, but what is important is that we must push on every front to create a “volume” that is loud enough that Governors, legislators, and those working on a federal level understand that people want to end this cycle of 19th century game management, that does nothing to support healthy wildlife populations, or make for healthy ecosystems.
The fight to reform or remove these agencies will not happen overnight, but it is a fight that requires energy that is designed to generate humanity, not allow the lack of it, to continue to hold court. From manatee to bears, from turtles to wolves, there remains a human dimension that somehow sees them as a nuisance, rather than a gift. For this is the mindset of the modern savage: a group of people consumed with self-interest that see a world devoid of nature, and a wallet full of endless possibilities. Their wallet -and desire for more- is the poison that the modern savage uses to kill wildlife in the name of progress, in the name of the sickness which they make legal through their actions.
It is this modern savage we must destroy: we do it by turning up the volume so loud and the sunshine so bright that they, not us, are forced to change their ways and become (ironically) civilized.
Bold Visions Conservation