Letters to the Editor: Wildlife conservation is pointless without taking on the fossil fuel industry
“In the name of wildlife conservation, you’re killing the planet.”
That was the message sent to the U.S. Senate last March by the National Parks Conservation Association, an organization founded in 1933 that has long been an important voice on environmental issues. In the nearly one-month period that followed, the group launched The Future We Deserve: Saving Everything, Fighting For A World Without Oil, in hopes of reaching legislators who were not in tune with the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The NPA spent weeks building a rapport with lawmakers by calling on them to act. It issued a letter, signed by U.S. senators and congressmen, that focused on global warming and the need to reduce carbon emissions. But the letter failed to address two major issues: the fossil fuel industry and the environment.
The letter, which was sent to every member of the U.S. Senate, stated that “climate change is a scientific consensus that the Earth’s climate is warming due to increases in greenhouse gas emissions,” and that “the world already has enough climate pollution. … Climate change is not a matter of politics; it is a scientific consensus that man has caused it.”
The letter, which went out under the public domain, does not mention the energy corporations, whose enormous profits rely on the burning of oil and gas and on the burning of coal to generate electricity. It does not mention the corporations that are the chief enablers of deforestation by the destruction of the world’s forests for timber and palm oil production. It does not address the harm that land, air and water practices, such as large-scale mining, logging and forest management, that take place in the name of wildlife conservation and habitat destruction.
We can’t have it both ways. We can’t pretend that the energy corporations need our help and then turn around and tell the public that they don’t. Our public lands and waters belong to us, by right, not to corporate interests.
All the energy corporations have to do is to respect the rule of law. That would be a start. But more importantly, they can and should do more to show that they respect our precious environment. They can also take steps to change their ways.