I was recently reminded that the week of April 16th through the 23rd is Earth Week. It's a time that many celebrate the efforts of many organizations to focus on the reduction of green house gases, global warming, recycling programs, reduction and dependency on fossil fuels and many more. There are many outdoorsmen that feel some of these groups are off the wall and go overboard in their efforts to influence others that their organization is the one that is saving the world. I also notice that many of them are not shy in their attempts to get into our pockets for donations.
I think we sometimes think these groups are out to end the passion we have for many of our outdoor activities. It's easy to understand why when we hear the most radical of their members who would end hunting and fishing as we know it, limit our use of national parks and forest lands to save certain species of plants and animals. They would regulate what we drive, what we wear and the list goes on and on.
What really is the focus of Earth Week and what should it mean to us, the everyday outdoorsmen of America? The word is "sustainability" or the ability to regulate the who, what when and where of our earth in an effort to ensure we are able to continue to enjoy the fruits of God's green earth. When you think about it, everyday outdoorsmen like us have worked on sustaining the love we have of the outdoors for many years, and without a "catchy label". While for many years the fruits of the land were necessary for sustaining the lives of people, it was the sportsmen who began to realize that the resources our forefathers relied on were limited, and we risked the loss of these resources if we didn't do something about it.
For many years sportsman, including some very notable political figures, have fought to establish regulations that began to take into consideration ways to enjoy our outdoor activities without ruining it for later generations. While we might not have always agreed on the steps or processes, we have embraced the concept of sustainability to ensure our outdoor activities don't end.
Some of the steps taken that support our interest in sustaining our earthly resources include;
1. Regulating hunting and fishing seasons, as well as regulating bag limits. Through the efforts of sportsmen and state and federal agencies we have saved many species who either were on the brink or close to extinction. Our support also has included the reintroduction of species once lost from their original habitat.
2. The donation of time and money to support efforts to increase the land we love and want to use. Through donations to various organizations we help fund the purchase of wet lands to help sustain the migratory waterfowl we love. The taxes paid through our purchase of hunting and fishing goods have funded state efforts to purchase land that become public use areas and support hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and biking.
3. The efforts we make to keep the great outdoors clean and free of debris that others would leave. The donation of time and energy to assist with stream side clean up's, trail clearing and marking, assisting in the establishment of food sources for wildlife, including song birds, and our willingness to assist our agencies in turning in those who have no regard for our need to sustain our resource.
I can continue to list additional steps we have taken to support our need to sustain what drives our passion for the outdoors, but I think you get the message. Realize that while we won't always understand the groups that would work to limit our outdoor activities, we still have much in common; the need to sustain those resources that drive our passion.
Happy Earth Week and please do your part to help sustain our outdoors!