Monday, March 5, 2012

Disprove Climate Change, Win a Gun!

The RoadViggo Mortensen in "The Road"

I've posted before about the environmental protection positions of "Field and Stream" magazine (with their Google search headline reading "Hunting, Fishing, Survival, Guns, Gear"), and specifically about their segment "The Conservationist" and it's position against Republican efforts to strip the budget of important environmental protection measures. Recently, "The Conservationist" posted another intriguing headline: "If Climate Change Isn’t Real, I’ll Give You My Beretta." The post highlighted the group known as the "Conservation Hawks," who describe themselves thusly,

"Who are we? We’re a group of passionate hunters & anglers devoted to protecting our Child Climate Hawk sporting heritage and passing on a healthy natural world to our kids and grandkids. Our motto says it all: HUNTERS & ANGLERS DEFENDING OUR FUTURE

What makes us different? We focus on the most important issues for sportsmen. That’s why we’re leading the fight against the biggest threat we’ve ever faced - CLIMATE CHANGE."

Conservation Hawks chairman Todd Tanner recently offered a tempting wager to those Wall Street Journal and Fox News loyalists allowing political discourse to drive the climate change discussion rather than actual facts: prove to him with facts and data that climate change is not real, and he will give you one of his most prized shotguns. Tanner further provides an effective metaphor based upon a situation where such a gun might be useful, analogizing climate change with your family being charged by a bear in the wilderness. Would you just stand there, or would you take action? Tanner continues to place the debate in terms that conservatives typically tout, and in response to the question "what about those who say this is just another excuse for more government intrusion and power?," states:

I don’t think they’ve really thought it through. You want to talk about government intrusion, think about what it means if we don’t address this now while we have the time and resources. We will lose the freedoms that we have because somebody—and it will be government—will be in an all out effort to try and address the effects. To try and address the effects of our neglect. We’ll face the worst thing of all- losing our freedom. And we’ll already have lost most of hunting and fishing. That’s how serious I believe this is.

This approach highlights how the discussion increasingly needs to be re-framed by infusing into the discourse the values that those who may be opposed to climate change typically hold dear. Don't want government intrusion? Well, imagine what it will be like when the government is really forced to act because we did not act now. Frustrated by high gas prices? Exercise personal responsibility and drive a more fuel efficient vehicle to self-determine your transportation costs rather than clamoring for the government to bail you out now that gas prices are high (note the rapid drop in sales of gas guzzlers and rapid increase in sales of fuel-efficient vehicles when gas prices rise). Don't like the government spending your tax dollars on handouts? End subsidies to the fossil fuel industry that facilitate our continued reliance on fuels sure to run out over ridiculously short geologic times scales. What's that? You DO want the state and federal governments to come to your aid after a hurricane/flooding natural disaster event (even though you typically want them to stay out of your business)? Enact responsible land use plans that don't exacerbate the human and economic destruction of such disasters by filling in and developing wetlands that act as important buffers to storm surge. Your religious convictions tell you to put others before yourself? How again does that not include your grandchildren and descendants even further down the line who decidedly will not have access to fossil fuels? Should we not ease the transition to renewable fuels so the shock of transition is not foisted on them? Want to be a true conservative? Then conserve natural resources, finite fossil fuels, and your family's future. It might not win you a gun, but it will allow you to ensure that there is a natural landscape for you to take your gun to in the future.

- Blake Hudson

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