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NFC: new article

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 whets 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 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 a unique natural resource.

Most animal rights activists 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

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 the 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 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 there are in their multi mile 100,000 hook lines. Big
fish, little fish, baby fish and non food fish. Then after sitting on the
hook for 12 hours or so their dead bodies are hauled up and then thrown
back into the ocean as by catch. These are the trout lines from hell. As
an example it is estimated that that 497,000 pounds of juvenile sword
fish 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 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 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 on 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 are
conservationist at heart. Which is the great news. The people have the
vision and 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.

Robert Rice
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