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The Government, The Environment, and You

When it comes to conservation and environmental issues, politics matter. But arguing about politics on social media doesn’t do a lot.

If those two sentences seem contradictory, keep reading.

You could classify me as a cynic. By and large, I see the bipartisan status quo of the USA to be very much like a game. Not unlike professional wrestling, there is a lot of hullabaloo in Washington with very little real impact. Whichever color/animal is in charge, there is so much red tape that the needle only ever vacillates a bit to one side or the other.

I sound like the idiot if you pay attention to the media in general; social media in particular. Eyes won’t stay firmly glued to screens unless things are portrayed with a heavy dose of melodrama. Regardless of the who and the what, we’re always teetering on the brink of destruction. Our money, children, and *gasp* trout will all be gone. We are literally one ballot measure away from the world of Mad Max.

But you’re not here for my pessimistic view of our government’s MO. In fact, you might have very well read enough in those last two paragraphs to click unsubscribe and unbookmark and unfriend. If it makes you feel any better, I was taking aim at both sides of the aisle. And if it makes you feel any better-er, I am about to talk about something much more positive.

We can help the environment and we can protect the fish that we enjoy. And it doesn’t require waiting for the government to help us out. However, it requires more than arguing on the internet (which, again, doesn’t do a lot).

Getting out, getting muddy, and picking up a trash does a lot.

Taking a child fishing and explaining why we don’t keep everything we catch does a lot.

Being the feet on the ground for your local watershed organization’s needs does a lot.

Supporting projects of your local TU Chapter through your presence does a lot.

Planting a tree in your own yard, using your own money, with your own two hands does a lot.

To be clear: I’m not saying that federal environmental policies don’t matter. Endangered species and Bristol Bay and the Everglades and the striped bass sport fishery matter. Pursue those causes as you feel convicted and pursue them by doing your part.

I’d posit though, that doing your part means more than reposting an article on Facebook. There isn’t anything wrong with reposting – as long as you understand that it’s just the 21st century version of flipping a ha’pence into a fountain. It is of infinite less value than the five aforementioned examples of actual activism.

Actions speak louder than words. It stands to reason that people seeing you do conservation will move your local needle a lot more than debating someone in a comments section. And so many of the movements that have impacted state and federal policy started with a few people doing. Never,  I would go out on a limb to say, with a few people emoting or arguing online.

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