Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

Heads in the Sand

Thinking about the future

Thinking about the future

Monte Burke did us all a great favor when he gave Todd Tanner, chairman of Conservation Hawks a guest slot in Forbes.com.

Tanner didn’t disappoint.

His ironic Death by Polar Bear  points out why making polar bears the symbol for climate change seriously undermines the effort to address the issue.

Here’s a news flash. Nobody in the Lower 48 has ever seen a polar bear in their backyard, or at the local baseball field, or on their way to work. Nobody has seen one frolicking in a meadow or swimming across a river. Which makes the big white bears one of the worst symbols we’ve ever picked for anything, anywhere, at any point in human history. Seriously, this is Marketing 101. If you want to convince Americans they’re in danger, you don’t point toward the North Pole and hand them a pair of binoculars.

Bravo to Tanner for calling bullshit. He nails it. But before you get all warm and fuzzy or outraged, his marketing lesson is just a part of a larger message.

Tanner does an equally good job of pointing out that those of us who enjoy the wild places need to start doing more.

Unsurprisingly if you know Tanner, is his ability to make his point humbly,  convincingly and passionately.

Why do we need a group like Conservation Hawks? Because there’s no chance—none—that our politicians in DC will step back from the climate cliff of their own accord. Somebody has to take their hand and lead them back toward sanity. And who better than sportsmen? Who better than folks who hike through the empirical evidence every time they step outdoors?

He has taken on the threat of climate change and is working tirelessly to enlist the sportsmen’s community in the fight.

If you care about the outdoors it is time to heed the call for action. If it’s hasn’t already, climate change will touch you. Deeply, inexorably, with dried blood on its fingers and its hot, fetid breath in your face, climate change will get up close and personal. So my question is simple. How long can we last with our heads in the sand?

Call me a cynic, but after many years in the policy arena I am skeptical of the chances of “leading our elected officials back toward sanity.” Those folks don’t have their heads in the sand, their heads are in another place where the sun doesn’t shine. Tanner’s post sounds another alarm, just like Chris Hunt and Beau Beasley have done.

Inaction and heads in the sand will leave future generations without those precious places we rely on to enjoy the many benefits of playing outdoors.

It time for a global climate change of attitude. If we can’t make them see the light, it is time to make them feel the heat.

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