by Stephen Capra
Today in Brazil a woman will become President. While it’s about time, it also presents an opportunity to have a real conservation minded President in charge. In Brazil you see the Amazon is being burned before our eyes. The reason- so ranchers can move into once forested areas and grow beef, while destroying without any regard for the ecosystem that generates life and beauty on levels which seem hard to comprehend in the arid west.
Marina Silva has made clear her desire to change the status quo as it relates to burning her countries heritage, the forests of life. Yet, like so many people who understand our environment and make it a priority, she has seen her campaign falter in recent days by withering attacks by the more established candidate Dilma Roussett who understands the powers that support her reelection.
If Silva could win, Brazil would undergo a sea change in their burning and grazing mentality, which would make our planet the winner. Which makes one wonder if the possibility exists for change in this country, as it relates to the devastation which the livestock industry has wreaked on our western public lands and water?
If so, I do not see a man taking the lead on that effort, rather someone of the mindset of Elizabeth Warren. Who seems willing to challenge established thinking be it banking, Wall Street, and with some luck perhaps those who kill wildlife without reason or logic and control Game and Fish Departments with an iron fist, enjoy generous government handouts, while destroying the lands that have given so much life, they call themselves ranchers, but in reality they are part of an oligarchy of self-preservation.
At Bold Visions we continue to talk about ending public lands grazing and are met by many in the conservation community with rolling eyes. It speaks volumes about the need to create a new and spirited energy within our own ranks. It also requires real support from the foundation community to begin to breakdown the ranching community and the support they enjoy from any and all elected officials. This is not a one organization operation; rather it is going to require the coordinated support of many groups with a goal that captivates the American public and allows a far more positive, than negative campaign.
Which is rather easy if you think about it? Imagine streams filled with trout, and valleys tall in grass, bison and wolves in the heart of Colorado, or part of your Grand Canyon experience. New wilderness areas that link to National Parks and generating the dramatic expansion of parks like Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain and Glacier!
The stumbling block to such progress and transformations of our lands remains ranchers and many who believe the fantasy of their perceived rugged individualism. What could the West look like with their demise? What could Native Americans do with more lands for reservation, how would our waters and springs restore without the constant beating of cows and their waste befouling them.
Imagine wolves not threatened by ignorance, but allowed to thrive. Imagine politicians that push conservation without focus, without the threat of cowboy outrage. We must visualize and push to expand, not retreat and lay out a model of what is possible. That vision is something we are creating and want to begin to share and vocalize, for it is the future and to achieve it; we must breakdown and much like racism, challenge the values and morality of those who continue to turn a blind eye to the destruction that is being allowed in the name of so-called freedom.
By tonight we will know what is happening in Brazil. It could be a dramatic and positive change, or another heartbreak that continues to empower those who live by greed and grifters.
I hope to see Brazil do something to proclaim the environment a priority. If nothing else her candidacy has put the issue in the spotlight. We are two years out from our next major election, it’s time to start sowing the seeds of change and begin the restoration of our spirit and of the lands and waters that define that sacred space that lies beyond the hundredth meridian.
“True passion cannot be tamed. If your Soul is in the Right place – you’re Giving Back. “ Burch
Bold Visions Conservation