Defenders View

A word from Jamie.

Defenders President Jamie Rappaport Clark, © Krista Schlyer

© Krista Schlyer

Wanted: candidates for Congress. Essential duties include protecting our nation’s natural resources and wildlife. Qualifications: a strong stewardship ethic, leadership skills and a keen understanding of the important role that nature plays in the health and well-being of humankind. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. 

I wish all it took was a newspaper ad like this in every state. We could hire the best and the brightest to ensure our conservation legacy for all times. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that. 

Recently, longtime conservation leaders in Congress like Congressmen John Dingell, George Miller, Jim Moran and Henry Waxman and have announced their retirements. All have fulfilled their responsibilities as true wildlife champions, providing a voice for our nation’s wildlife and wild lands. Together they have been the ultimate conservation heroes, representing both the east and west coasts of our country, speaking out and voting for some of the most historic and critically important legislation of our times on wildlife, the environment, climate change and our national parks and refuges. 

We will be losing some valuable allies when these gentlemen step down, and while we have other champions, they can’t do it alone. So now it is more critical than ever for us to secure some new conservation leaders. Republicans, Democrats and Independents are all welcome—just as long as they support the need to restore the stewardship ethic that once guided our country. 

We owe a debt of gratitude to Congressmen Miller, Dingell, Waxman and Moran. The best way to thank them for their decades of service to our country is to ensure conservation is a priority in our own lives, to challenge our own elected officials to be the next leaders in conservation, and to support candidates that are ethically driven to be responsible stewards of our nation’s wildlife and natural resources for decades more. That is the best thanks we can give these great leaders and the best gift we can give ourselves and the generations that follow.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, President

More Articles from Fall 2014

Gray wolf, © Michael Quinton, National Geographic Stock
Nearly a quarter century ago, L. David Mech made a pair of bold predictions about the challenges still awaiting wolves in the American West.
Sage grouse, © Joel Sartore/joelsartore.com
Study finds plans for protecting sage-grouse ‘inadequate and inconsistent’
Piping plover, © Raj Das
Wildlife protection doesn’t hurt tourism at seashore
Hammerhead Shark, © Tui De Roy / Minden Pictures
New Hope for Hammerheads; From Doves to Condors; Wolverine Woes
© Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr
New Hope for Hammerheads; From Doves to Condors; Wolverine Woes
© Shutterstock
Smaller than 5 millimeters, microbeads wash down the drain, slip through most wastewater treatment systems and eventually end up in the sea where fish, mussels, crabs and more mistake them for fish eggs and eat them.
Mountain lion, © Matthias Breiter / Minden Pictures
EPA bans poison blamed for accidentally killing wildlife
San Joaquin Kit Fox, © Kevin Schaefer / Minden Pictures
But with fewer than 7,000 left, the San Joaquin kit fox can’t outrun the habitat destruction, oil leasing, pesticides and climate change problems that are taking a toll.