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Defenders President Jamie Rappaport Clark, © Jim Clark

© Jim Clark
The elections are right around the corner. At the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we used to call this “the silly season,” but there is nothing silly about the conservation of our nation’s wildlife and wild places.  

It’s telling that the websites of the two presidential contenders focus on energy, with nothing on the environment and conservation. Sadly, the environment seems to have dropped off the radar screen during this election cycle. Even with the extreme weather events we have witnessed (see page 16), not only in this country but around the world, there is no mention of the need to address the obvious impacts of climate change.  

Many of our staunchest allies in Congress have retired or have focused their energies on other issues. Most noteworthy is the fearless Congressman Norm Dicks, who will retire after this session of Congress. Here is a man who has stood up for wildlife and our natural world for decades. He will be difficult but necessary to replace.  

I know from talking with many of you that, like me, you are disappointed with the direction our political leaders have taken on the environment and wildlife. But the elections are just around the corner, and candidates need to hear from wildlife advocates that wildlife and our environment matter. Contact the candidates running in your district, ask them their opinions on wildlife issues that matter to you.  

Politics matter! We would be in sorry shape today if 40-some years ago, Congress had not passed the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. We need that kind of leadership again.

Jamie Rappaport Clark

More Articles from Fall 2012

150 years of exile, quarantine and captivity, Defenders welcomes true, wild bison back to the Great Plains.
Catastrophic wildfires, record heat waves, bizarre storms and blistering droughts are exactly what climate experts predicted
Raising livestock in wolf country comes with a distinct set of challenges. But for five years, the Wood River Wolf Project has been helping Idaho ranchers coexist peacefully with wolves.
Feds move to protect sea turtles
It may sound like a contradiction, but John Hazeltine likes to joke that he recently put expensive, environmentally friendly solar panels on his rooftop because he’s cheap.
Crop Subsidies ‘Plow Under’ Wildlife; Sun Shines for the Florida Black Bear
In the race to save bats affected by the deadly white-nose syndrome, scientists from Michigan Technological University are using chemical “fingerprinting” to identify where bats hung out the previous summer.
The Virginia big-eared bat will devour half its weight in bugs every night during warm weather months. Come winter hibernation, though, the bat could be in for a chilling reality.