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Sharing the Love with Northwest Nature Photography!

Bear Cascade!  Alaska. Northwest Nature Photography

Bear Cascade! Alaska.

As a photographer, it is hard to balance the rise of amazing artificial intelligence with what seems to be a visible and steady decline in human intelligence.


Even with increased technology, immediate access to news and data, and a science that is leaps and bounds above what our parents had available – there seems to be more climate deniers, flat earthers, and others who just do not, or more accurately, will not, get it. Misinformation, fear, and political meddling are perhaps more accurate than intelligence – but the outcome seems the same.

Wolf on the Hunt! Yellowstone National Park. Northwest Nature Photography

Wolf on the Hunt! Yellowstone National Park.

While I worry about the future of democracy, free speech, and the civility, patience and understanding of others, I also worry about the smaller day-to-day changes that seem to be headed our way. If we cannot talk and get along among ourselves, how can we expect to ever be able to embrace the importance and right to exist for other species? How can we expect bears, wolves, and others to live in balance with humans when we can’t be harmonious among ourselves? How can we share the love?

Black Bear in North Cascades, Washington State. Northwest Photography

Black Bear in North Cascades, Washington State.

The purpose of this post is to urge people to get out to vote – to understand the power that those of us who love nature and wildlife have – and to remind all of us that when we vote we are weighing in on the future of all species. It is also a heads up on what to expect, environmentally, if we return to the past.

Brown Bear & Fall Colors. Bella Coola, BC. Northwest Nature Photography

Brown Bear & Fall Colors! Bella Coola, BC.

We have real-life outcomes, laws and regulations passed, and a history that shows beyond a doubt what we can expect if the previous administration in the White House returns. All of these examples were approved, some were overturned, by that administration.

·       In 2023 the National Park Service again started public meetings and initiated public comments on the reintroduction of Grizzly Bears in the North Cascades Ecosystem. In 2020, the past administration terminated the previous Environmental Impact Statement on grizzly reintroduction, a public process that had been underway since 2014. What is the chance this will happen again?

·       Hostile state wildlife management in the west (WY and MT) have brought petitions to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for grizzly bears throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (ID joined and asked that grizzly bears in all of the lower forty-eight states be delisted saying there were plenty in Alaska and Canada). These state petitions will have greater consequences as the previous administration had already removed ESA protections for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears (in 2017 only to be overturned as illegal by a federal judge in 2018), and in 2019 by implementing new rules to weaken ESA protections.

Brown Bear, Yellowstone National Park. Northwest Nature Photography

Brown Bear, Yellowstone National Park.


Zack Strong, NRDC


Alaskan Brown Bears. Northwest Nature Photography

Negotiation! Alaskan Brown Bears!

·       Idaho has approved wolf trapping and snaring laws so egregious it would allow killing 90% of the state’s grey wolf population. In 2020, the previous administration stripped ESA protections for grey wolves in most of the U.S.

·       In 2023, Alaska’s Fish and Game set out to eradicate predators in Wood-Tikchik State Park to protect Mulchatna caribou. Over the course of seventeen days, they killed ninety-four brown bears and cubs — five black bears and five wolves, reducing the area’s bear population by 74 percent. Expanding hunting rights on federal lands has been a long -term priority for the past administration, who (2018) amended regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves, including baiting, hunting with dogs, killing wolves and pups in their dens (all outlawed on federal lands as inhumane in 2015).

Black Bear in Alaska on Stewart-Cassier Hwy., BC. Northwest Nature Photography

Headed to Alaska! Black Bear on Stewart-Cassier Hwy., BC


“The fact is, they shot every single bear and wolf they spotted from the choppers.”

Doug Peacock, Author (Read this article)

 

·       We already have the promise, on day one, to “Drill, baby drill.” This from an administration that finalized its earlier plan to open up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska (ANWR) to oil and gas development, overturning six decades of protections and that would jeopardize some two-hundred wildlife species including polar bears, musk ox, the Porcupine caribou herd, and millions of birds that migrate to the lower states (and six other continents) each year.

Family Bear Hike in Haines, Alaska. Northwest Nature Photography

Just Out for a Family Hike! Haines, Alaska.

A return to this state will impact the future of the things and places that I love, my photography and my values. It will affect the values of each of the more than 148 million US residents (roughly 57% of Americans sixteen years or older) that watched wildlife in 2022 (last year of data), as well as the forty million who fish and the over fourteen million who hunt. Together, wildlife lovers and outdoor enthusiasts spent $394.8 billion in 2022 on their activities.


We have a national election coming up (along with numerous local and state elections), and that nearly $400 million should translate into a lot of economic power, both for ourselves and for preserving wildlife. But only if we vote, make our voice heard, and make our votes and voices beneficial for all species, not just misinformed, fearful and meddling humans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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