Supporting conservation should not be divisive.
- Foreward by Jared Frasier, 2%'s Executive Director.
"When 2% was founded, it was in the winter of 2015/2016.
The world was ramping up for a series of elections and political decisions that are now known to have been some of the most divisive in recent history.
Divisive rhetoric quickly permeated nearly every corner of life, and the conservation world is not exempt. Depending on which side of the aisle you are on, you can find groups that will tell you that you can't be a true conservationist unless you have political values in line with their leadership.
I know this to be the case because I regularly receive calls from businesses and individuals looking to change who they are giving to over this issue. And you better believe we help them find new groups - so that they keep giving to conservation. We won't let bad actors scare them off the conservation train!
As someone who has been called a "conservative redneck" and a "liberal green decoy" to my face (within a 24-hour period) for advocating for science-based wildlife conservation, I get it.
I am much more interested in being an effective conservationist than leaning into any other label someone may place on me, and I believe most of you are the same way. Those misnomers come from confusion, small-mindedness, and I think it's indicative of the culture we live in; A culture dramatically separated from nature, wild places, and wild things.
This doesn't discourage me, it excites me.
We have the opportunity, as a collectively creative and wildly diverse whole, to do immense good in our lifetimes.
Sitting around and picking petty fights with the other side of the aisle, blaming other generations, or profiteering from and stoking the fires of division... that's short-sighted and temporary.
At most, it will live as long as you or the faction you have adopted. The work we do for wildlife will long outlive any of us. To do that, we must focus on what we can accomplish for wildlife, together. We will address that in next week's blog post about how 2% supports conservation groups.
It's why I am continually renewed and re-energized by our Business Members, Individual Members and Committee Members.
Together, our membership serves over 100 conservation groups representing nearly all North American game and migratory species. These people from all walks of life are united by one thing: Living a life dedicated to wildlife conservation.
One of our Committee Members, Dan Wilson of Spokane, WA, was kind enough to step away from his hunting season to share some thoughts on what "2% being purple" means to him. If you were at our first Conservation Convention this last summer, Dan was the guy using his epic grizzly bear sized arm-span to sell raffle tickets in support of the different groups there. I hope his words encourage and embolden you the way they have our team!"
Why Conservation is Purple.
by 2% Committee Member, Dan Wilson
The best things about this country are not republican or democrat, left or right, red or blue. They are purple. Clean water and fresh air surpass party politics. A bugling elk does not care who you voted for and a huge brown trout won’t join you at a political rally. High steppe deserts don’t call you at night for campaign donations. But they exist today and will only continue to thrive if we regard them as transcendent to our political biases and deserving of our time, money and action.
I recently spent the day with over 400 of my neighbors doing a cleanup project along the banks of the Spokane River which flows through my city. Flyfishers donned waders to pull garbage out the middle of our native Redband Rainbow Trout waters, while families combed the banks for refuse and debris. I’m sure there were more than a few climate activists and climate change deniers in the group. But our reality is that we wanted that river clean, and our actions were aimed to that goal, and in the end our opinions and biases mattered so little.
Our children and future generations will also one day be inheritors of our common struggles and purposes. We must make a choice, as individuals and as a society, about what truly matters to us now and for those to come. Will we choose to falter on our partisan divides and descend into petty tribalism, or will we shrug off our labels and minor differences of opinion to focus on leaving a legacy of greatness?
We can do it as individuals in our communities and we can even do it in our government, as recently seen the John D Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act that passed the House of Representatives 363-62 and the Senate 92-8. We only need to make conservation a priority and to act without regard to partisan affiliations or entrenchments.
That’s what it means to be purple and that’s exactly why 2% for Conservation operates within an apolitical space. We owe it to our conservation forebearers to remain responsible stewards of our natural resources. We owe it to ourselves to invest our time and energy in the places and animals that bring us joy and peace. We owe our children and descendants the protection and enhancements of the same things that have provided so much for us, physically and intrinsically, in the outdoors.
When you purchase from a 2% for conservation company, when you pack out a backpack full of trash from a wilderness basin, when you pull a shopping cart from a river, help relocate a mountain goat via helicopter, or donate to a conservation organization directly - you are making a value statement, not a political one.
You are investing in the creatures and places that have given you so much and will continue to provide for us and those to come as long we prioritize them. Conservation isn’t about a red elephant or a blue donkey mascot, its about real wildlife and we should never confuse that.
If you would like to connect with Dan Wilson or any of the other committee members to learn how you can start giving back to wildlife in your area, click here.