Subscriptions click here for 20% off! E-Mail:

Git Home!



Is the wealthy beast a plus?

By C.J. Hadley

In this issue you will find a lovely story by Penny Porter about a wetback named Tomás. I, too, am a wetback, if you consider coming into this country illegally via Canada and the St. Lawrence River. Je suis Caroline. I probably evaded the law for the same reason Tomás did—to find work.

The difference was I didn’t have a mob of people to take care of across the border like Tomás. My family was in England. I was alone. A teenager. Not too bright. No education. But this country gave me what I needed. A chance.

This is what the women in this issue had. They had guts, worked hard, and had setbacks and sorrows like the rest of us. But they were all inspired by the country. Linda Davis. Dee Douglas. Ina Labrier. Jane Collie Woods. Susan Marxer. Joan Vogt. Barbara Van Cleve.

It’s something that The Nature Conservancy—subject of our special report in the center of this issue—wants to take a piece of. The country we’ve cared for. Even though most of the words about TNC in this issue are not kind, we admit that some of the things they have done have been terrific and they are great at telling you how good they are. Unfortunately, the negatives outweigh the positives (unless you count money). One of their former vice presidents quit some years back because, he said, “It’s not about conservation any more. It’s all about power and money.

Some of the million-plus small spenders at TNC don’t know that. They see the brochures. They hear the rhetoric. They meet the handsome and charming operatives. They breathe easier thinking some precious creature is being “saved.” What they don’t know is that one “imperiled” species often pushes out another, and that “other” is often people. Nice people. Rural people who sometimes succumb to the pressures, because they have no capital, few choices, and are too old or too tired to fight

It’s not just The Nature Conservancy that is helping to eliminate small ranches and farms. It’s all the activist groups that make TNC look better: The Center for Biological Diversity, Forest Guardians, Western Watersheds, and other “big guys” like the Sierra Club, Audubon, The Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council and National Wildlife Federation. They have their reasons to exist, many good ones, but the bottom line is what they want is usually a farm or a ranch—for a bird sanctuary, a frog pond, a backpacking trail, or habitat for cougar, salamander, lynx, kangaroo rat, desert tortoise and grizzly. And while they “save” the country, their salaries aren’t bad, either. The American Institute of Philanthropy says Christopher A. Smith, president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, gets $848,482. The Sacramento Bee shows presidents of World Wildlife Fund and National Audubon Society rate $241,638 and $239,670, respectively. Audubon’s administrative costs in 2000 were $5,347,880; Sierra Club’s $5,073,979; TNC’s $40,223,828; and TNC has a “Director of Climate Change Program” at $171,734.

It’s a pity loggers, ranchers and farmers don’t have access to that kind of green. Can you imagine what the resources would look like with that kind of infusion of cash?

Groups like TNC put the pressure on and usually get what they go after—about 90 million acres worldwide so far. But what happens after that is strange. Some things they promote bucks for are saved. Most aren’t. Property goes off the tax rolls because it was acquired by an enviro group then sold to the federal government--using tax dollars, of course, and often at a huge profit. That destroys the county tax base, local businesses aren’t supported, schools close, small communities go on tilt, then fail. That was proved when the Sierra Club went after logging a decade ago. Carl Pope, Sierra Club executive director said, “It wouldn’t have worked if the spotted owl hadn’t been such a pretty bird.”

Because of their pressures, hundreds of mills shut down, thousands of jobs were lost. Rural communities couldn’t survive without those workers.

“Tourism will replace logging,” Sierra Club claimed.

“Coffee shops will open in Lakeview, Oregon, and replace logging and ranching,” said Andy Kerr, now a leader of RangeNet (whose desire is to destroy ranching on federal lands in the West as quickly as possible).

Tourism didn’t work. Travelers bring their own bag lunches and leave more toxic trash than a cow or sheep could even think of.

Rabid, you say? Us? Heck no. We are just telling you what we discovered, some of which came from The Nature Conservancy’s own website. You be the judge as to whether some wetbacks are OK and if this wealthy beast and its effete friends are a plus.

Spring 2003 Contents | Git Home!

To Subscribe: Please click here or call 1-800-RANGE-4-U for a special web price

Copyright © 1998-2005 RANGE magazine

For problems or questions regarding this site, please contact Dolphin Enterprises

last page update: 03.29.05