May 16, 2011
The threat of "urbanites" to good conservation practices.
This relentless citification takes people into steel and concrete surroundings where exhaust fumes replace smells of waters and woods, where chickens appear to be born and raised in tight plastic wrapping.
Many urban dwellers now think that animals are essentially as depicted on TV animations. The animals talk, laugh and cry, sing and dance and commune just like a happy family on the couch across the room.
There is comparatively little human contact with real life and death cycles of animals. In their pretend world, city folks lack an understanding of the ongoing battleground of predation and the fundamental basics of one life form existing by consuming another. Many would try to save an animal from a natural predator.
out of this air-conditioned ignorance are feelings that people should never take any animal (though eating one is okay if it comes wrapped). These same urbanites are often taught to believe that other folks, like boaters, are basically intrusive and threatening. Better to play golf, or shop.
Feeding on the evolving urban outlook, we now have non-fishing and non-boating bureaucrats coming up with all kinds of restrictive schemes, often based on flimsy documentation and far-fetched anecdotes, and, most importantly, pitifully little actual experience.
Suddenly, instead of having the traditional administrators and officials who looked out for concerns of outdoors enthusiasts, we have office dwellers planning many-million-dollar projects like huge reservoirs without a genuine thought for camping, hiking, fishing, boating or simply hanging out among plants and animals. The public is a pain, it would seem. Ignore them.
On a whim,
for instance, park managers on Key Biscayne in Miami are proposing to ban boating all along the island's north and east waterfront, far beyond where swimmers or others go.
In Stuart, a county employee decided anglers didn't need to fish from the beach after nightfall, so he planned to ban parking there. Only a loud outcry from citizens led county commissioners to nix the ban. Once again it was shown that angry citizens can hold down the damage caused by na‹ve armchair preservationists. But in far too many cases, we're at the mercy of the anti-people people who aren't much concerned about the real outdoors and don't see why you should care much, either.
They don't know it, but the no-touch, ban-happy people are true conservation's worst enemies.
One community leader, Kevin Henderson, put it this way: "Multiple-use conservation rather than plain preservation is more likely to create good long-term stewardship of the environment. It's hard to love something you have never seen up close and personal."
In other words, a person who really knows and touches the outdoors will benefit conservation far more than an urban planner on the apartment couch.