Thursday, March 26, 2009

ND Floods, Environmental groups and hunters

Geese! Actually I could hear the birds two days ago but the fog had wrapped them in its impenetrable shroud and I wasn’t sure where they were. Ever since I first heard them I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to go scouting and try to figure out where I can set up for some pass shooting—after the present flood crisis is over. Would you believe that in the last 48 hours we have had rain, ice storm, fog, snow, melting snow, more rain, more snow and now floods! At least our small town (Village? Hamlet? What should I call it?), is on a high spot and it would take a whole lot of rain and flood before we would be threatened. At least it shouldn’t be but we have another problem. ALL of the surrounding countryside was quick frozen last fall after late autumn rains saturated the fields. In other words, as the snow melts and the spring rains fall they don’t soak into the soil but run off, or as the soil thaws the mud is incredibly deep, trapping any implements and as the frozen soil thaws it causes the freeze-thaw movement of the soil to crack and even cave in some basements. I’m having a small problem in my basement that makes me think I’m making a war movie and I’m in a submarine, but it is nothing compared to some others. Two homes in the area have fallen into their basements because the running water and thawing soil weakened the basement or foundation, or washed out the backfill.

All of this should serve as a reminder to us that we really are not in charge here. You can believe it is God who is in control and is sending the weather to remind us that we don’t control our environment—regardless of what we do. Or, perhaps the weather patterns sweeping over our nation is “us” which is just what Pogo said. Are we slowly and irreversibly creating our own doomsday?

I don’t buy all of the Global Warming theory; although I find more truth than daydreaming in it. I’m not willing to embrace the tree theory of the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson, either. On the other hand I am 100% convinced that the world’s weather patterns are going through drastic changes but I don’t believe we can see far enough into the future to be able to offer realistic solutions.

While watching the weather change drastically several times in the course of a few hours I was thinking about the weather, the environment and the role of sportsmen and sportswomen in environmental issues.

I believe that we, as the sporting community of the outdoors, have an obligation to be at the forefront of many of today’s environmental issues. Some members of the community of anglers and hunters try to claim that because the origins of the conservation movement are fixed in the concerns of nineteenth century sportsmen (and women) that conservationism is where they owe their allegiance and not to environmentalism, insisting that the environmental movement was born out of the conservation movement and therefore the latter is the true conservator of nature. I disagree. For the conservation movement to be viable it has to be part of environmentalism. From what I’ve seen, the radical elements of environmentalism rarely spring from the environmental group but from outside elements—which points to one of the weaknesses of our entire sporting culture—an unwillingness to participate in groups outside our immediate concern. A result is our rights are often trampled by tiny radical elements of society, elements that try to form links with environmental groups to validate their claims. Consider PETA, CASH and Wayne Pacelle’s infamous HSUS as examples of this validation effort. Each one of these organizations, and Pacelle, has at one time or another tied itself to the Sierra Club (usually at state levels) as “proof” of their connection to nature conservation. A little scratching at their claims (rarely do you need to dig very deep) quickly reveals the fraudulency, or at least weakness, of their ties to true environmental concerns. These groups attach themselves to real concerns as a means to advance their agendas aimed at ending sport fishing and hunting. The presence of well informed anglers and hunters in the environmental organization is often enough to discourage these anti fishing and hunting groups from attempting to tie themselves to real issues.

A thought?


Lance Johnsen said...

I awoke to the radio announcer saying predictions are that the Red River will crest at 41 feet today, 2 feet higher than the record crest set in '97. Thank God you're well enough removed from the river, and on higher ground.

Your environmental/conservation analysis is spot on. My favorite group of miscreants is Earth First. There are people who generally talk and there are people who generally act. Sportsman are in the latter category, and comprise a group of people who are both respectful and respected. That is why they consistently effectuate sound policy.

Anonymous said...

I just wanna mention for the record that I bet we don't see mass rioting and looting going on in Fargo.

Galen Geer said...

Have you noticed that the people in Fargo and other towns along the Red are doing it the old fashioned way--themselves! They are not waiting for anyone to come in to do the work for them, nor are they waiting for Wayne Pacelle and his HSUS to capture their news spot by holding a wet puppy they had to dip in the freezing Red. Nope, they are opening a shelter for the animals and sending people out to find them and bring them to safety. glg