I’ve always believed in my heart that it’s not conservation that more conservative-leaning individuals are opposed to. Very few people look at the Earth from the eyes of the evil oil baron in “The Muppets.” Very few people, I firmly believe, can look out at our vast oceans, study the mosaic of life therein, glimpse the vast southwestern deserts, the snowcapped mountains of Colorado, the rushing alpine rivers in Montana, and think first “exploitation!” Nature is the cradle that sustains us even as adults, and there is something in its simplicity and beauty that touches even the hardest of hearts. Rather, it is the offensive absolutism of uncompromising anarchists, the ultra-left, the vitriolic campaigns of activist organizations and grassroots fundraisers, and even the Democratic Party, that turns people off to saving the planet. Maybe these groups provide shelter and community to the already-inspired, the motivated; tree-huggers with admirable passion for a good cause. Yet the instant that passion becomes more divisive that it does educational, more self-serving and institutional than interpersonal and hands-on, more “green” fad-focused than practical-results oriented - that is when they cause more harm than good. And right now this country needs no more division. It needs no more angry words - from any side. They accomplish nothing. It needs logic. It needs intelligence. It needs compassion. It needs a Martin Luther King Jr. or a Nelson Mandela-like patience for opposing viewpoints. And most of all, it needs individuals who are brave enough in spirit, and strong enough in mind, to move beyond gullibility to marketing schemes and beyond base institutional pressure. We need actively engaged and educated citizens, not an opposing collage of blindly passionate protest groups. But most of all, saving the planet will require empathy with those whom we most stridently disagree, those whom we may never consider sitting down to a slice of cherry occupie with, but whom we must, for the betterment of primate-kind.
While at feast, a pair of rhesus macaque display an unusual serenity