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Edited by: John Stewart

The Wildlands Project Comes to Hidalgo County - Part 7

The Wildlands Project: The Nature Conservancy

by: Judy Keeler

This week I intended to discuss The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the 10th largest nonprofit in our nation. However, in order to understand how some of the players interact within the environmental movement, I’d like to point out some opinions I’ve developed during years of research.

According to my observations, a line has been drawn in the sand. On one side of the line stand those who believe in people and the good in humanity. These individuals tend to believe in their fellow man and enjoy helping their neighbors.

On the other side are those who believe humanity is a curse on the earth. These individuals tend to suppress and inhibit other human beings and any human activities they consider detrimental.

Here are some values they perpetuate:

* Environmentalism pits man against nature, i.e., man is killing all wildlife; hacking up their habitats and destroying the species’ ability to survive. Mankind is the villain. His activities are fouling the land, water and air.

* Humans are on a level with all other species. Animals and plants deserve the same rights as mankind. Although they concede mankind may have the ability to choose right from wrong, it is assumed they always choose wrongly. Humanity is inherently bad. Nature is good.

* Everything is a crisis. Extinction of species will occur tomorrow, or at the least, in the very near future. Although their belief system is based on evolution, this same evolutionary process can not be allowed to continue. They must “save” the Earth!

* They are very elitist. The organizations, and individuals heading them, believe they’re the only ones who know what is good for the planet, including its animals, land, water and air. It is their job to “educate” others because they possess superior knowledge. Mankind must stop all activities they perceive to be destructive.

* They are extremists. The word compromise does not exist in their vocabulary. Whether it is the size of trees that can be logged, developing oil and gas, or the right of individuals to manage their own property, they will not compromise unless it’s one of their own doing the cutting, drilling or subdividing.

* Most of the organizations involved in this agenda, and the Wildlands Project specifically, are interconnected, either through their agenda of “saving” species, open space and wilderness, or through their funding sources – usually money granted by large foundations.

Those who scorn humanity have found some very useful tools to control and ultimately eliminate those who do not agree with them. Once they have created a perceived crisis in an area, they use the laws they have helped generate to force compliance.

One of their favorite and most effective tools is the Endangered Species. However, they’ve been known to use the Clean Air and Water Acts to suit their purposes as well.

What began in the 1960’s as a social agenda to clean up industrial pollution and save species in peril has today become a nightmare. The environmental movement had, at one time, a legitimate reason to exist. Several industrial corporations were polluting our lands, air, and waters. Some species were actually declining to the point of extinction. But, through the years, as these conflicts were resolved, the environmental community changed its focus from industrial pollution to any activity they considered a pollutant, i.e. harvesting timber, mining minerals, irrigating desert lands, grazing rangelands, and some forms of recreation.

With time, they were also able to change the public’s perception from cleaning up to “saving” every little bug, crawling critter, fish, and plant. It has gone so far now that some organizations are even trying to save lichen (algae). Are these organizations becoming even more extreme in their causes, and why?

David Brower, Sierra Club’s first executive director, and supporter of the Wildlands Project, explained in 'E' magazine how environmental organizations have built their system to make their agenda appear main stream: “The Sierra Club made the Nature Conservancy look reasonable. Then I founded Friends of the Earth to make the Sierra Club look reasonable. Then I founded Earth Island Institute to make Friends of the Earth look reasonable. Earth First! now makes us look reasonable. We’re still looking for a group to come along and make Earth First! look reasonable.”

This statement was made in 1990. Today, we have the Wildlands Project, Center for Biological Diversity, Forest Guardians, Range Net, and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF!) among approximately 1400 other “environmental” organizations that are massaging the public into believing their claims. Some of these organizations tend to make other environmental organizations appear moderate in comparison to their extremist positions. Many are supported by large foundation and government grants.

How does TNC fit into this agenda? In my opinion, when the extremist groups attack miners, loggers, ranchers and recreationalists, TNC is then free to ride in wearing their white hats. Appearing to be the good guys, they can now save the day for everyone, and make off with the goods in the process.

More on The Nature Conservancy’s Land Acquisition Program next week.

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