Endangered species and politics
Name: Gary A Latman
Why was there nothing in the response about what determines which endangered
species are listed, explaining some of the important non-scientific reasons,
i.e. lack of funding for EPA, recent moratorium on listing imposed by our
"Contract for America" Congress, pressure by various industries (for example
timber) not to list species that would interfere with their clear cuts of
large sections of forest? These are very important reasons why some species
get listed and others do not. Additionally, preservation of entire ecosystems
is the emphasis now in the environmental community, which is very hard to sell
True, politics is one ever-present beast which will probably never be on
anyone's endangered species list. :)
Having said that, I think our world has become sufficiently educated (at least
the "civilized" world) to recognize a valid claim of species endangerment.
Unfortunately for those environmental purists who might be inclined to paint a
more-gloomy picture than that which exists, perhaps to have a larger-than-
needed area protected, for example, today's politicians enter Congress wide-
eyed in terms of their need to serve their constituent's interests. One loud
voice in this regard is their personal economy. For an
environmental issue to register any sound against such a loud voice there has
to be a "clear and present danger" to borrow a movie title to the species. We
environmentalists fail when we passionately argue a point not clearly
researched or not strongly supported by the facts. In the end if an issue is
real and is presented accurately it has the best chance for media attention.
Exaggerated claims tend to fall quickly by the wayside. I am not trying to be
judgmental here either positively or negatively, I am simply trying to present
my understanding or impression of why some claims are quickly recognized as
real while others seem to be ignored.
Oh yes, you make a good point. National politics as well as international
politics affect what is listed and what is not. The Endangered Species Act is
after all a political document.
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Update: June 2012