Birdshot and backlashes - Who are environmentalists?

by Bob Cary

There may not be much more entertaining theater than that which goes on with our natural resources. The curtain went up on the political stage last week revealing an often-played remake of a production titled “Save the Wolf.”<BR><BR>Starring are various trained federal and state wildlife folk who insist the gray wolf is quite self-sufficient and is no longer in need of federal “Endangered Species” designation. Other actors in the drama include agenda-driven spokesmen for various organizations which feel just about everything on the earth is threatened with extinction, the wolf, in particular.<BR><BR>These latter are more or less labeled by the press as “environmentalists.” Significantly, they are not labeled “wildlife biologists,” “wildlife researchers” or “wildlife managers.” Everyone knows what those are because they are defined by education and expertise. No one knows what an “environmentalist” is and there are no qualifications other than to declare oneself an “environmentalist.”<BR><BR>Oddly enough, the press gives equal time to the trained biologist and the unqualified “environmentalist.” The press does not give equal time to medical researchers and to readers of palms. The press does not give equal time to space engineers and astrologers. Not that the unqualified do not have strong beliefs. <BR><BR>Nor does the press give the same space to baseball ticket buyers as they do to major league players. They both have opinions on how the game should be played but the major league short stop, shall we say, has possibly a little more insight into the details of the game than the guy in the bleachers.<BR><BR>But not with natural resources. Every news story involving natural resources, be it forests, ducks, deer or wolves, nearly always quotes “environmentalists” as if these are trained observers. The fact is, the term ”environmentalist” as applied to natural resources is ridiculous because there is no such person. There is no definition of an “environmentalist.” There are people in all walks of life, scientific and otherwise, who are concerned with the environment. <BR><BR>Is not a bartender, concerned with the environment around his bar, an “environmentalist?”<BR><BR>A bag lady, sleeping in a doorway is concerned with her environment. Is the bag lady not an “environmentalist?” <BR><BR>This is one of the problems we have in attempting to manage our natural resources. Anyone with a mailing address, some stamps and opinions can become an “environmentalist” and be duly accorded status at wildlife meetings such as those involving the wolf. <BR><BR>Of course, what is written here will have no bearing on the matter. The term “environmentalist” is solidly ingrained into our national dialogue, has great status with much of the press and is very popular with various groups of citizens because anyone can be one by just declaring they are one.<BR><BR>The wolf does not need help from ”environmentalists.” The wolf is doing just fine. However, the “environmentalists” need the wolf. The wolf provides them with a cause with which they can get public attention and raise money. And money is what runs the “environmentalists.”<BR><BR>It is all part of the great American outdoor theater, whether comedy or tragedy.