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Hunting, fishing, and trapping organizations are asking their Senators to support strong climate legislation in the US Congress.
Looking at the wide sweep of US fish and wildlife management history, the fact that 'hook and bullet' groups have expressed support for climate action should be viewed as a return to the historical norm. And no wonder. As a Reuters article points out, it's hard to live in denial if you "spend a lot of time outdoors and notice changes like shifting bird migrations or earlier spring run-offs in rivers from melting snow."
The mythical view of all political conservatives as 'anti-conservation' arose from political campaign consultants stoking fear over the prospect of of over-reaching gun and ammunition controls, for example. Political conservatives may favor fewer regulations, but that does not mean they categorically oppose all endangered species protections, open lands conservation, public parks, or the need for climate action.
In other words, city-dwelling "tree huggers" have more in common with the rural 'hook and bullet crowd' than they might care to admit. And vice versa.
Teddy goes hunting; but he is still huggable. Image credit:Mainely Bears
From Reuters - U.S. hunters, anglers lobby for climate bill
A 2008 NWF poll of over 1,000 hunters and fishers found that over half classified themselves as "politically conservative." The respondents were mostly white, male and middle-aged -- classic Republican demographic. Even so, 85 percent agreed with the statement: "We can improve the environment and strengthen the economy by investing in renewable energy technologies that create jobs while reducing global warming."The above described survey finding points out the possibility of "conservatives" and "liberals" coming together in support of renewable energy development.
What if we can only agree on renewable energy, green jobs, and little else?
On just the topic of renewable energy, there is much to talk about, and new trade-offs to grapple with by those who don't hunt or fish.
Large portions of what are known as "public hunting" or "fish and game lands" held by US states - there many thousands of square miles held for those uses - were originally purchased and are maintained with revenues from hunting and fishing license fees. Hikers and bikers have not paid their part. Coincidentally, many such fish and game lands were relatively unsuitable for large scale farming, due to presence of large rocky outcrops or steep slopes: which means they tend to have ridges and high points - ideal for wind farms.
Don't let the political wedge issues distract.
What would you rather have, fights over gun controls or a planet in catastrophe?
Is it better to continue the negative rants about hunting and meat eating, or to set that aside, coming together, instead, in support of renewable energy?
Let the conversations begin.