IMAGINE WALKING INTO a trendy coffee shop in Austin, Texas where an indie rock singer is set up with an acoustic guitar singing mournful tunes about how they can’t afford the latest iPhone and other horrors of modern society.
Gathered in a private room to the side is a group of “environmentalists” sipping on a mix of oddly flavored coffees and really expensive tea. The conversation gets heated about the exploits of the local Republican city councilman who puts out too many carbon emissions in his diesel.
They give a collective sigh when notes from the G20 Summit make no mention of shrinking polar icecaps.
Mention “climate change” (a phenomenon that no one has ever explained how to really do anything about) and you’ll experience the full power of virtually every “green group,” the American and European media, and many college students looking for a reason to vent.
A collection is taken, and the rich and privileged socialites of the community (who would normally not be caught dead in a place like this) sign checks that would astound the average person. But mention how tea plantations are causing the Asian elephant to spiral toward extinction by depleting habitat and increasing elephant kills and you get… crickets.
That tea they are drinking is too good, after all.
At the highest levels of the conservation world on divergent sides of the aisle, a handful of elites with great power do what elites tend to do. They hog the limelight and opportunity for themselves and forsake the most pressing issues. They’re too busy hobnobbing to get real conservation work done.
The cash cow of the “green movement” and its singular focus on climate change has birthed a monster that is bilking billions from the public. It’s also directly taking funds that might otherwise do things that can be tangibly measured.
Neglected are things such as purchasing South America rainforest to save it from commercial ranching or linking habitat corridors to establish safe travel ways for tigers in Asia.
Does anyone really think any of the money going toward “climate change” is making a difference or ever will? Even if America were to acquiesce to the strongest emissions standards, do you really think China and other developing countries will?
When was the last time (other than two paragraphs ago) you heard anything about saving the rainforest? It was the thing to save in the 1990s.
Equal hypocrisy exists on the hunting side, and I have covered it well on these pages. It’s easy to confront the animal rightists if you work in this industry, but not so easy to stand up against your own industry. Whether it’s the hook and bullet sector or the “green side” of things there is good work being done by well-intentioned people making a difference.
The hunting industry doesn’t have the guts to face the deep and serious poaching problem in the United States. At least I haven’t seen anything of the sort as mentioned in the July issue. Programs such as Operation Game Thief do a great job of helping, as do our brave game wardens, park rangers and biologists in the field.
I am talking about the industry movers and shakers on the big committees. You know, the ones much more interested in discussing their elite hunting exploits than dealing with a big problem here at home. They have influence and resources. Yet they are silent. Why?
In my opinion, it is because it does not involve any of the pet projects of industry leaders, and it sheds bad light on the hunting industry itself. Read press releases from hunting organizations, and you will get the idea their members actually go hunting to save wildlife.
The reality is they go hunting because they enjoy it. Saving wildlife is a side benefit. Many hunters work actively to raise funds for conservation, but when you have young men from hunting families actively killing protected species it looks bad. In fact, it looks really bad, and no one wants to touch it on the hunting side.
This has to change, and we must take off our blinders for not only the sake of wildlife, but the teens themselves.
Poaching is not hunting. It is the antithesis of legal, regulated hunting, and it damages wildlife populations in terrible ways. We need to confront it here in America before it becomes an epidemic. Unfortunately, this kind of contempt for wildlife can be contagious. Wise stewardship should be celebrated whether it’s enacted by Ducks Unlimited or the the National Wildlife Federation.
It must stop because numerous species they could be helping are in peril.
—story by CHESTER MOORE