Selected Articles from our
The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Summer 2006 Issue
GET TO KNOW YOUR
BY RON BAKER
The following is a letter written to an environmental group based in
the Adirondacks of Northern New York State. I have deleted the name of
the organization in this reprint as its identity is irrelevant.
This organization is emblematic of most “environmental-ecology”
groups which are increasingly pandering to the hunting market to the
detriment of environment, ecology, and society.
People should be extremely selective about which group or groups to
join. It would be wise to find out where these organizations stand on important issues such as hunting.
I, for one, find it difficult to lend my support to an environmental
ecology group whose leaders lack convictions or the courage to support
or to fight difficult issues.
Readers should be careful to distinguish between ecological beliefs
and social and political expediency as it pertains to these groups. Let
their supporters and potential supporters beware and investigate!
My letter is as follows:
I have been a loyal and enthusiastic member of your organization. It
is with great sadness that I am letting
my membership lapse and do not plan to renew it.
There are several reasons for my decision, and I believe that you
should be aware of them.
First, I believe that you are increasingly
becoming prone to compromising your original principles for the sake of
gaining more “widespread support” from Adirondack residents. This has
become increasingly clear in your publications as politicians, business
people, and others with questionable
environmental sensitivity are allotted space for their views.
You state that your purpose is to preserve and perpetuate the
traditional Adirondack way of life. Maybe you
have to say this to gain support from many “old time” Adirondackers.
it is equally true that the traditional
Adirondack way of life has been responsible for the rape of our environment and its wildlife. So here you have a direct contradiction,
one which provides a basis for compromising your principles.
What is most needed is not social
stagnation or retrogression, but a radical transformation of human
consciousness which recognizes the intrinsic value of Nature and that
people are part of it, not superior to it.
Third, and this is particularly disturbing, is that you are
obviously trying to recruit more hunters into your
ranks. This was apparent from the write-ups about some of the candidates
prior to this year’s vote by your membership. It was even more apparent
in the current publication where two hunters gave “testimonials.”
One, dressed in a camouflage suit, said that he would like the
Adirondack environment preserved so that, among other things, he would
be “able to see an eagle soar,
and track a whitetail buck.”
Now, what does watching an eagle have to do with tracking, and
presumably blasting the life out of a deer? Absolutely nothing to any
Regrettably, there are many questionably sane and
unquestionably irrational people. Why should your group give the
appearance of promoting an activity which is biologically and
ecologically destructive? An activity which infringes on the supposed
constitutional rights of those people who would like to protect wildlife
on their rural property, or who would simply like to experience solitude
during the October and November time of mass madness.
I hate to see your organization, which started out with the noblest
of intentions, become a haven for rednecks and good old boys who do not
care about the intrinsic value of the Adirondack wilderness, but who
simply want it “preserved” so that they may continue to engage in their
Now, please don’t write back and say that you simply want a
diversity of environmental opinions among your
membership. If you keep diluting your values where will it end? A
gigantic wilderness snowmobile “ride-in” to gain funds?
It is worth noting that gaining “wider support” inevitably leads to
a greater organizational bureaucracy which, in turn, results in a
further dilution of original values. It also
often leads to the infiltration of anti-environment people into an
environmental group; people whose
agenda is to actively stifle the effectiveness of the organization. It
is a vicious circle and one that is ultimately self-defeating.
It is because environmental groups which appear all too eager to
compromise their original beliefs that cause many of us who really care
about the earth and its life to become disenfranchised.
For these reasons I am letting my membership in your organization
lapse. If and when I learn that you have reverted to your original
ideals, I will consider renewing my membership.
Ron Baker is author of The American Hunting Myth. He
homesteaded on 100 acres in the Adirondacks for over 27 years. Each
hunting season the hunters trespassed to kill what Ron loved. Mr. Baker
is Vice President of C.A.S.H. –Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting.