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Why Cant we be friends ? 
The call for Conservation
Robert Rice
Robertrice at juno_com 

Imagine the folly of a train racing off a bridge while its occupants
argue over what's for dinner. That is all of us, we sit at the edge of a
cliff fighting with ourselves all the while we race towards environmental
ruin.. We fight constantly about what to do with our resources and spend
very little time thinking of ways to conserve them. People fight about
the various pro/anti hunting /fishing positions all the while missing the
big picture. So most big and small organizations spend their time ,money
and efforts to scream the loudest about their position. All the while our
wild areas become smaller and smaller. If we continue as we are there
will be nothing for the tree lovers, trout fishermen and elk hunters to
fight about. You see what has been lost in this debate is conservation.
The manageable way to keep all parties happy.

First off lets define what conservation is or is not. Conservation from
Webster's dictionary  - verb- to keep entire, to keep from damage or
loss, planned management of flora or fauna. A couple of interesting
points it is a verb or action word which should tell us to get of our
tails if we want to conserve anything. Also the words planned management
pretty much spell out the concept. If we can preserve the resource and
still enjoy it we have succeeded. If we can not, we have failed and may
forever lose our unique natural resources.

Most animal rights activists organizations are not conservationists ,
though they should be. Instead of throwing paint on little old ladies
wearing fur coats or traumatizing deer hunters they should be pooling
their resources to set up conservation sites and preserves to truly
impact the creatures they claim to care about. For example Greenpeace and
PETA have 0 dollars in their multi million dollar budgets set aside for
conservation land purchases . That is a shame and a travesty. Where is
the passion on the most fundamental level saving the land and the
creatures upon it ? If your anti hunting or fishing , what better way to
prove your cause than land purchases ? Become preservationist , buy the
land and retire it forever. 

Instead it is easier and more politically profitable to organize protests
with media support. What makes better traffic on the 6 o'clock news a
little old ladies fur coat covered in red paint or the purchase of 1000
acres  for a preserve. Of  course the little old lady gets the headlines
but the 1000 acres gets the job done. All the while the true losers in
this directed fiasco is the nature all parties claim to want to help. 

Now the commercial and recreational fish crowd has done more
conservation. They should take a bow because most of the lands involved
in conservation are there because of the money brought in from hunting
and fishing licenses. Which is all well and good but it is not enough.
Most sportsmen have a pork chop mentality.  That as long as there is a
pork chop on their plate, meaning some place to hunt or fish they are
happy. The issue has grown beyond that now. The sportsman today must
learn about conservation and take a stand. If we do nothing we risk
losing everything. For example longline fishing of Billfish , sword fish
etc. has taken a devastating toll on the populations of these fish and
threatens to ruin the fishery for our immediate lifetime and beyond. That
means we will never be able to catch a 300 pound sword fish. All because
we do not follow conservation fishing techniques. These longline fishing
techniques catch all the fish their multi mile 100,000 hook lines. Big
fish, little fish, baby fish, teenage fish , non food fish. Anything that
bites the hook can be considered dead. You see after sitting on the hook
for 12 hours or so their  bodies are hauled up and then thrown back into
the ocean as by catch. Any fish not  dead has a slim to none chance of
survival. These are the trout lines from hell. As an example it is
estimated that that 497,000 pounds of juvenile swordfish are dumped dead
back into the ocean every year because of longline fishing practices. So
where is the cry from PETA and Greenpeace? They are silent on this one.
No old ladies to put on the news I assume. Ok what about the fishermen?
Why aren't the fishing organizations joining with the recreational
fishing alliance (1-888-join-rfa) a group dedicated to stopping this
abuse of our fisheries. The main reason I suspect is the press has not
reported on the environmental abuse. So if you are not on TV you can't
make any money which is what most organizations are about. Meanwhile the
miles and miles and millions and millions of hooks drag us closer and
closer to a swordfish free world. Catch em all let god (or federal laws)
sort em out remains the rule.

You see there is very little noise out there because most organizations
are not conservation organizations. Political yes, profitable probably ,
conservation not a chance, ask your local PETA group or BASS club  to
spend some money toward conserving a local plot of land. They will run
away so fast your eyes will spin. Sadly most organizations on both sides
of the fence are not conservation minded However most people in these
organizations are conservationist at heart. Which is the great news.
These people have the vision and ultimatly the power. If the Rocky
Mountain Elk foundation for example can work with the Nature Conservancy
to secure a parcel  of land all parties win. What about if Trout
Unlimited partnered with the Native Fish Conservancy (www.nativefish.org)
to preserve a spring or two . The results would be incredible. Instead of
acting on our own selfish interests we could partner and begin to set
aside conservation areas that would meet all our needs. Heck with a
little bit of grassroots support you might even see PETA partnering with
say the Audubon society and turning their significant financial resources
to something positive besides fur coat painting.

We sit at the precipice. Do nothing and we will fall over. Do something
we may not. I ask you to ask your leaders to conserve land . To take the
time ,money and efforts to save a piece of land. To ask your statesmen 
to make it easier to donate land to non profit organizations. Ask your
PETA clubs your Bass Clubs your Civic organizations to consider saving
the land by purchasing it and setting it aside. No more of this millions
of dollars wasted on political positions. Waste it on Conservation so we
can continue this debate well into the next century.