Conservation Report, December 2016
- Last Updated: November 25, 2016
By Tim Manns
In this first Conservation Report since the election I can do no better than quote National Audubon President David Yarnold to give an idea where your organization stands:
“Some things didn't change last Wednesday morning (Nov. 9). An overwhelming majority of Americans still believe climate change threatens their future and the lives of birds and they want real solutions. … Many business leaders believe in a predictable set of environ mental regulations. Americans didn't vote against clean air or clean water. Most people still believe in science… It's clear that the incoming administration will have new conservation priorities and that most of the opportunity to make progress on climate change will shift to the states. … We're a durable, respected, trusted conservation network and we’re local everywhere. With 463 chapters and 22 state offices and a membership of one million that’s almost evenly divided between D's and R's — we're authentic messengers for birds in every state in the U.S. — and that sets us apart from every other conservation non-profit. ..You are the lifeblood of Audubon, part of a community of caring people, from Sacramento to Helena to Lincoln to New York. That’s who we are. And that's not going to change.”
Yarnold goes on to express Audubon’s strong belief in the principles of fairness, tolerance, and inclusion. It’s a time to reflect on what America is about in every phase of our lives, from how we treat the environment to how we treat each other.
For a half century we’ve depended on the Clean Air Act (1963), the Wilderness Act (1964), the Endangered Species Act (1973), the Clean Water Act (1972), the National Environmental Policy Act (1970), the Environmental Protection Agency (1970), and many more to guard what we value and to ensure its perpetuation. Where some see excessive regulation, we see necessary protection and restoration of environmental conditions damaged or put at risk by past practices. The election campaign and outcome alert us all to the fragility of this system of environmental protections so painstakingly built over many years and so vulnerable to rapid unraveling.
In the area of environmental concerns, particularly global warming and issues of wildlife conservation, particularly for birds, you can rest assured of National Audubon’s very active and outspoken involvement and expertise. More voices for environmental protection, restoration, and conservation are always needed at every level, including locally here in Northwest Washington. We’re fortunate to live in a state with a higher level of interest in and concern about environmental matters but that is by no means universal in Skagit and adjacent counties where Skagit Audubon’s members live or probably anywhere else in Washington State. More and more we’re learning the importance of showing up, standing up, speaking out.
If you haven’t already, please look at National Audubon’s website about its conservation advocacy work and sign up for action alerts: http://www.audubon.org/takeaction . In addition to the national issues described there, many local and regional issues relevant to Skagit Audubon’s mission continue to arise. November’s outcome should only increase our determination to do whatever we can to protect and restore the place we live and care about so much.