March 03, 2005

3/3 - "To Persuade or to Crush": The sad track record of

I don't like to delve into politics unless its relevant to mass communication of ocean conservation, which this is. In the fall of 2003 I was invited to a small gathering at a law office in Santa Monica where some of the heads of showed their new commercials which were mostly constructed around the theme of "MisLeader" -- the first wave of what came to be known as "Bush Bashing" ads.

To the friends who invited me, when asked for my thoughts later, I said I couldn't see how the spots were seeking any sort of common ground through which people in the middle might be persuaded to join the cause. We all know what happened in the elections. And we know how "polarized" the nation is felt to be today. Now comes this article in Rolling Stone that formalizes the critique of

And this is relevant to ocean conservation, and fishing issues in particular. Should environmentalists seek to crush their opposition (and do they possess the innate ability to do it?), or should they search for areas of common ground through which people in the middle can be persuaded to join the cause?


Rolling Stone says, "If it was a stock, it would be broke by now."

Posted by Randy Olson at March 3, 2005 03:21 AM

I feel very strongly that the only way in which to do much of anything effectively in marine conservation is to try and work with our opposition, well, at least with local fishers. I think its the only way a lot of conservation is going to get done period. Case in point, recent (ok January) article in High Country News on a partnership between a Republican (gasp!) legislator and a conservation group. Lots of other conservationists were appalled at some of the concessions the first group was willing to make (ie to ATVs etc) but at least something was being done! A REPUBLICAN was bringing conservation legislation to the floor! So I got to thinkin... can we as marine conservationists strive for cooperation with local fishers? I think its important to have their input on designing marine conservation agendas: if they understand them and thier importance, and are part of the process, wont they be more likely to uphold them? How else do we address their concerns? Wont their support be important in going against political hurtles? Or in drawing public support? I think its time science got off its high horse and sat down with its opponents. Who knows what we will come up with if we just throw out what we think we know about others and get down to business? We all want the same thing: an ocean that can support fishing for coming generations. Plus, the few fishers I know love the ocean too. Enough pointing fingers, lets see some shaking hands.

Posted by: Emily at March 4, 2005 01:44 PM