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The Once-Illustrious National Wildlife Federation

A review of the June/July 2002 issue of National Wildlife reaffirmed the belief that the National Wildlife Federation, once a noble institution dedicated to sound management of natural resources and the furtherance of science, has in recent times become one of the many tools in the promotion of the liberal environmental agenda. The time is long overdue for such tools to be exposed.

The Federation, as is the case with their accomplices in both the private and public sectors, continues to mislead its followers with the employment of bad science, distortions, and play on emotions. Undoubtedly they are aware that people can be disgustingly gullible, and they take fullest advantage of this quality. A recent survey by the National Science Foundation revealed that few Americans understand the scientific process, which incidentally is very simple and logical, and many believe in pseudoscience and are quick to accept phony science reports. Most believe that global warming, as advertised, is a real and serious problem, and 40 percent believe in UFO's.

One needs only to refer to their mission statement, presented on page six of this issue, to discern their leaning and bent. Reference is made to their desire to assist individuals and organizations of diverse cultures. What does this have to do with the matter at hand? Why not to anyone? They aim to protect the Earth's environment in order to achieve a peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. Sure sounds like liberal goo to give one a warm feeling.

A review of the list of characters reveals two individuals from the Clinton administration — Jamie Rappaport and Michael Dombeck — who played major roles in restricting cutting and closing roads on National Forest lands, which in turn added much fuel to the fires running rampant throughout the West. A major goal of environmentalists is the locking up of lands.

One section entitled "NWF View" offers comments from their President and CEO on National Wildlife Refuges. He stated that the need to provide healthy habitat for America's wildlife populations inspired their creation. More than likely the refuge concept came about from an unfounded fear of overshooting waterfowl and big game. Questions can be raised as to how many of them can be justified. The discussion appears to attempt to create the impression that refuges are necessary to provide safe havens for threatened and endangered species.

And, of course, an attack must be made on George W. Bush. "Despite its tremendous value and clear mission, the system is being undermined — refuge by refuge — by many in the Bush administration and in Congress." Pretty harsh words for someone seriously concerned about the public's safety and believes in use of lands that will not adversely effect the wildlife resources. Should not any land placed in the public domain with the people's money be utilized for activities that do not conflict with the intent of the purchase? A focus is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge which has tremendous emotional appeal. The drilling plans are referred to as misguided. This certainly does not appear to be the case, and surely the Federation knows this. And to survive in such a hostile environment the indigenous wildlife has to be tough. They certainly are not glass figurines.

President Van Putten is to be complimented for criticizing the Corps of Engineers, but concern is not limited to the destruction of wildlife habitat. Should he not mention their horrendous abuse of property rights, despite the fact that this is not a liberal issue? And yes, as he mentions, public vigilance and involvement are crucial, but the public must be dealt with honestly, not sold a bill of goods.

The "Reader's View" column gives some insight into how effective the environmentalists' campaigns have been in spreading myths about the abuse of natural resources, global warming, alternate energy sources, and endangered species. Readers should be encouraged to make better use of their brains, but this would be counter to Federation objectives.

Then, there must be a piece on the abominable snow trend, with the usual fear tactics involving melting and great rises in sea levels. This is followed by a highly scientific discussion of the battle of the sexes, with the good news on the strife between males and females, helping creatures evolve. The next deals with pesticides and the effectiveness of natural versus man-concocted. Unfortunately there is no mention of the fact that the vast majority of pesticides are natural and are the reason why certain plants are so successful in competing and persisting.

This is followed by a rather interesting article about restoring streams to their natural glory. But the statement "What's new is our understanding that rivers are self-forming and self-maintaining" is quite bothersome. This is new? It is elementary to anyone who understands and appreciates nature and recognizes the relative insignificance of man.

Then comes "Backyard Habitat," which discusses birds and garden pests. Unfortunately there is no warning statement that attracting wildlife can be harmful to the landowner and the species being attracted. Consequences are similar to many human welfare programs. Credit is given to nest boxes for increasing bluebird populations. Have any reliable studies been conducted to prove such? A little more discipline is called for as is the case with birds controlling insect populations.

There is a piece entitled "Farming the Wind in Minnesota." More care should be taken in selling this alternative source of power. Cost-effectiveness, land area requirements, effect on wildlife, among other things, need a lot more attention. The statement, "towers appear artistically clustered, somehow looking as bucolic as grazing cattle and hay bales" is somewhat bothersome in a scientific discussion.

Caution must be exercised in digesting the article on travel corridors. Use of the terms corridor, cores, and buffers began with the most radical elements of the environmental movement, which have a disdain for humans and private ownership of lands. Corridor promotion likely is an excuse for locking up more and more land, and coincidentally grabbing more power. The discussion of the Okefenokee-Osceola link-up smells of this. What black bear in its right mind would care to travel from Okefenokee to Osceola? Just what are the benefits of this expensive corridor? Yes, each species has a threshold minimum hone range. And ridiculously large home ranges suggest that quality is very marginal. The black bears in Florida are considered endangered? More than likely it is the native humans that are. This whole article is short on objectivity. And beware any time "scientists" get together armed with magic markers and maps for a one day marathon. Much of this is pure nonsense, which should not be promoted by a reputable organization.

What a sharp contrast. The next piece deals with living fossils, such as the mountain beaver. In the discussion it is stated that scientists agree that 99.9 percent of all species that have inhabited this planet are now extinct. Anyone with any film in their cranial camera knows that species come and species go, ecosystems are constantly in flux, and extinction is a way of life. Somehow this one slipped by the Federation powers to be.

This takes us about halfway through the June/July 2002 issue. Similar comments could be made about the rest; such as God knows where the wild creatures belong in respect to the trumpeter swans, climate changes impact on wildlife, the environment coming up short on Texas' water, recycling, and city nature habitat.

Not only is there a shortage of honesty and objectivity, but maybe the Federation needs to lighten up a bit and cultivate its sense of humor. The advertisement for Hampton Inn, Raddison Inn, and other establishments in the Fort Myers/Sanibel Area notes that they have a lights out policy on the beaches so that the turtles can follow the glow of the moon. The Inns, however, add that at least we say it is for the turtles. And the picture of the moose at the McDonald's drive-up window in Homer, Alaska is great. Maybe the National Wildlife Federation should promote the creation of travel corridors for moose to McDonald's eateries elsewhere.

Nate Dickinson
August 14, 2002

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