NJOA – Where is the Voice of the Conservationist?
New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)- The commonality between the conservationist and preservationist is the stewardship of our environment. This, of course, is a good thing. The difference between a conservationist and a preservationist is the means they employ to achieve their desired ends.
One sees himself as separate from the ecology, the other as member. One has unwittingly extirpated species in the name of his “ism,” the other quietly makes attempts at restoring them. One is the favorite of a misguided press while the other is mistakenly viewed as a stepchild.
Are New Jersey’s natural resources decaying before our eyes but unwittingly reported otherwise? If you ask the conservationist you will get a much different answer than the preservationist. Is the one- sided coverage to be considered propaganda, the advancement of an agenda? The truth it seems is blurred and difficult to assess.
Conservation is the way of Mother Nature – not preservation. So why does the media worship at the altar of preservation?
The voice of the conservationist has reached the level of whisper in Trenton, which is progress we can champion and amplify. The voice of the conservationist seems stifled elsewhere by prejudice and the bureaucracy of political correctness.
The conservationist is the silent majority. It is time to assert our voices.
Ant – NJOA
FYI – an article of interest follows.
Jeff Tittel, Jersey’s Enviro-Vigilant Go-To Guy by Claire Heininger and Tom Martello Tuesday February 17, 2009, 12:42 AM
There’s no denying it: Jeff Tittel is a good quote. SAED HINDASH/THE STAR-LEDGER
Knowing that environmental jargon poses that garlic breath- in-an- elevator kind of turn-off to reporters, the longtime director of New Jersey’s 22,000-member Sierra Club gets his points across with punch and humor.
When Sen. Joseph Kyrillos pitched a bill to give tax subsidies to shopping malls, Tittel branded it “sprawlfare.”
When former Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Brad Campbell kept switching his position on a state-sanctioned bear hunt, Tittel branded him “Pander Bear.” And when tests found pharmaceuticals in drinking water, he warned of “Viagra Falls.”
A quick search of Jersey newspaper files over the past five years show Tittel, 52, has been quoted eight times more often than runner- up green guy David Pringle, head honcho at the New Jersey Environmental Federation. Over the past two years, Tittel was quoted 400 more times than Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts.
But the lifelong Jerseyan does not live by loquacity alone. He spends much of his time working behind-the scenes in never-ending tugs-of- war with businesses, developers, bureaucrats and politicians. Many are little battles over mundane rule changes that can make a difference in how many toxins will be allowed, what comes out of the stacks or where things can be built.
More than a decade ago, Tittel traded the greener dollar pastures of political consulting for environmental activism — a passion he had since participating in the first Earth Day as a junior high kid in Hillside.
“You know, they always talk about Cleveland, but the Passaic River also caught on fire,” he said. “When I was a kid, there was a stream near my house, and you could throw a match on it and watch it flare up. I would spend my summers up in Ringwood. I’d go up there and you could drink the water out of the stream and you’d see fish. That kind of difference is where you realize the impact that we have on the environment.”
Growing up in a politically active family — his parents were involved in working for Civil Rights and against the Vietnam War and his family had “an environmental ethic” since the 1920s — Tittel says environmentalists need to use the political process to get things done.
With Barack Obama taking office with a promise to attack global warming and with a governor’s race gearing up, Inside Jersey figured it was a good time to sit down with New Jersey’s go-to environmental guy.
Inside Jersey: Has it gotten any easier being green?
Jeff Tittel: When I was younger, I thought the environmental movement was better in a lot of ways. In the early days, it was very clear. People were dumping toxic pollutants right into our reservoirs, right into our waterways. The factories were just belching stuff out there. People were dumping toxins even though they shouldn’t have. Today, environmental issues are a lot more subtle. I think global warming or climate change has been the first real clear-cut issue for a long time. Because a lot of what we try to work on tends to be, I don’t want to say nuance . . . but it doesn’t explain itself so simply. Like when you’re trying to deal with non-point pollution ruining our streams, people look at you a little funny.
IJ: Who was the greenest governor, and who was the brownest governor?
JT: That’s interesting. There hasn’t been a super green governor. Each governor, I think, has had some good environmental successes. (Brendan) Byrne was probably the greenest because we passed more environmental laws back then. The Pinelands Act, The State Clean Water Act.
And he took on a lot of heat. And he had some very good environmental commissioners who were very green. (Christie) Whitman was the worst because of what she did to the department. Whitman came in and just took an axe to the environment. She did a lot of really terrible things when it came to enforcement. She just started trying to weaken regulation after regulation. Now we are to Jon Corzine, who I think has the potential to go down as the worst governor on the environment. Corzine will be the first governor with no money for open space and no prospects in the near future and so that puts him below Christie Whitman.
IJ: What role does the environment play in the 2009 governors race?
JT: I think it’ll play a pretty strong role because the environment again is an issue people actually care about. I think it’s become more of an issue because of people’s concern about global warming and climate change and energy policy. With energy costs, green jobs are going to be major focal points nationally, politically, and I think they’ll be an important part of this election.
IJ: The jury’s still out on Jon Corzine then? You’re not saying now, ‘We’re not going to back him?’
JT: I can never say what the club’s going to do because I don’t control our endorsement process. I think a lot of it’s going to be what the governor does in the next six months. We’re big believers in redemption.
IJ: You mentioned Corzine but yet you had a lot of praise for Lisa Jackson (the former DEP commissioner who was tapped by Obama to head the Environmental Protection Agency). Others didn’t.
JT: I happen to think Lisa Jackson has been probably one of the best DEP commissioners. You get to see the daily workings within the administration and you know who your allies are and who your enemies are. The energy master plan, the first one that came out that was crafted by Gary Rose (Corzine’s former jobs czar), it was pro-nuke and pro-coal, and was a disaster. And after the brush back on that, Lisa Jackson had more control and you could see it going in the right direction.
IJ: Do you worry that by praising Jackson you might cede your title as New Jersey’s grumpiest greenie?
JT: No. And that’s the funny part. If you go through papers and you go through comments in the New Jersey Register, I’m probably the biggest critic of this administration and DEP. I don’t always want to be the grumpiest greenie … I work very well behind the scenes and will be willing to compromise and take a reasonable balance. The only time I really go public and get very grumpy is when I think the environment has been given a raw deal, where someone commits to something and then breaks their word. Then you want to get their attention so then you tend to go edgier.
IJ : Tell us how you ruined Christie Whitman’s Earth Day.
JT: Governor Whitman had just put out this thing called The Mega Rule On Water which took mercury and a bunch of other chemicals off a list of contamination for drinking water. Governor Whitman, for Earth Day, decided to do a canoe trip down in Burlington County. We all went down there with signs and kids, about 100 people maybe, and just lined the river and all bridges calling her a toxic polluter. So instead of her going out there for this Earth Day photo-op, it became a picture of this bridge filled with young people with signs. It was one of the better moments … She pulled (the rule) down.
IJ : Do you ever get any static from the other environmentalists (for being so public)?
JT: There have been other organizations that have actually complained to editors.
IJ : We’re coming into the age of Obama. Do you have hope?
JT: Absolutely. It’s not going to be perfect but it is a complete directional shift where you have someone who believes that government has an important role to play in protecting and cleaning up the environment. The irony is even though I may come across as very cynical, I have to be an optimist underneath because otherwise I wouldn’t be doing what I’ve been doing for so long and taking on these kinds of battles. What convinced me was just hearing him speak – – once at the War Memorial and once on C-SPAN.
It’s like here I am, this crusty political person and I’m like screaming at the TV, applauding, tears in my eyes. When he talked about the three civil rights workers who were murdered in Mississippi, it touched those kinds of chords with me. So maybe I’m a little bit more optimistic.
IJ : What is your own greatest environmental sin?
JT: Now? My weight.
IJ : Anything from the past? You ever sneak out of state and test drive a Hummer?
JT: No, I’ve never done that. Though when I was younger I used to believe that the woods were for keg parties. But we’d take our empties out.
IJ : Have you ever really hugged a tree? JT: Yeah. Only after those keg parties.
NJOA – New Jersey Outdoor Alliance is the state’s first major political action committee devoted to the task of electing outdoor-minded candidates to public office.
NJOA has formed with the support of leaders of major pro-hunting, pro-angling, and pro-trapping organizations. We are not a hunting, fishing, or trapping “club” or “group,” and do not compete with the interests of such organizations. NJOA helps to ensure that strong wildlife and natural resource protection laws are produced by outdoor-minded elected officials. The best way to ensure a “conservation presence” in Trenton is to support the election campaigns of representatives who understand the relationship between a balanced ecology and hunting, fishing, and trapping.