Monday, June 18, 2012

Mission Accomplished!

I caught this wild trout in the gutter on my garage.
Thanks, Trout Unlimited!
I fished for trout yesterday; wild trout.

When I look at the reports all over the intertubes I find other folks are fishing for and catching trout too. But that's not surprising, since conservation organizations like Trout Unlimited have helped to raise conservation awareness and drive positive change.

What's surprising is how effective TU has been in such a short time. When those angling elders first sat around a campfire in Michigan and envisioned a coldwater conservation organization, trout fishing sucked and was in decline. But people across this great country flocked to the TU banner and a bunch of crazy guys went from being a strange voice in the darkness to an organization and then a full fledged movement; The Trout Unlimited Anti-Coldwater Massacre Movement™.

TU created local pods all over the great land to deal with local water quality and fishing issues. In time, a small group of national leaders emerged to knit together resources, share best practices and to help with legal and political issues. And Cold Water™ once again became cold; and water was Clean™.

But that wasn't enough.

These national cats began to think grander thoughts. They thought things like "Perhaps we could make better progress if we did a bit of what our opponents do; marketing and lobbying and spinmeistering"* So, they started "lobbying" and "marketing" to opinion leaders and politicians.

In fact, in 2011 when the oil and gas industry spent $150,000,000 helping to convince law makers that they were the preferred stewards of all the lands, TU overstepped their conservation mandate and fired back with a $280,000 broadside.**

And I know you're thinking what I'm thinking: "Are you fucking kidding me, $280,000?! You really expect to be heard with that paltry sum" "Extractive industries seeking to ruin my fisheries, YOU ARE TOAST!"

The word was out. The influence was peddled.

Not to be outdone, when companies were green lighted by the Supreme Court to give unlimited sums of money to political campaigns to further their goals, TU stuck it to them by releasing aggressively worded press releases, provocative blog posts, and by chopping down the mightiest tree in the forest with... a... herring.***

And the grand marketing machine began to hammer home key messages.

In short order the Pebble Mine issue was on everyone's lips. In fact, a fishing buddy of mine saw my decal on the car last weekend and said "What's a Pebble Mine?"**** That, my friends, is the sweet sound of marketing victory. Congratulations, TU!

Locally we've done some great work protecting, restoring and sustaining our fisheries. Now there's Clean Water™ all over the place despite the fact that our population has grown and development is rampant. The fishing has never been better and should continue to be so for forever.

And now, it's time for TU to once again respond to the up-welling of local voices.

If one believes everything one reads on the internet, as I do, the prevailing winds have shifted:
  • TU is on longer a fishing organization.
  • National leaders are environmentalists, not conservationists.
  • TU's messages are dishonest.
  • TU only cares about western issues so that they get to go on hog-seeking jitneys to large western rivers.
  • Members are tired of paying for National Staff's weekly pizza lunches.
Those shifting winds coupled with the unmitigated success that is reflected in Cold Water™ and Clean Water Everywhere™ leads me to one, unequivocal and irreconcilable truth:


Good on you, Chris Wood!******
As such, I call for the immediate dissolution of Trout Unlimited as a national movement organization.

The future stewardship and support of the Oil and Gas industry, the Mining industry and the National Cattleman's Beef Association suffice for me and should suffice for local chapters as well.

Thank you, Trout Unlimited. We'll miss you.

Sort of.


And while we're looking at organizations that really have outworn their welcome, here's a few more.
  • Exxon Mobil: Originally a company that gave out dinosaur soaps with every fill-up and was named Esso, now they're distracted by Oil Industry domination. Enough! Move on! You're top dog: $120 billion in revenues, $20 billion in cash on hand. Mission Accomplished! Free soap for every man, woman and child on the planet.
  • Apple Computer: Ditto. Crap, $30 billion in cash, an iDevice in everyone's hand. wtf, is next, brain replacements? Steve is dead. Move on already.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union: Surely, when the Ku Klux Klan seeks your assistance, your work is done. Good on you, ACLU!
  • Walmart: You've killed every small town department store on the planet******* and "forced" us to purchase so much crap from China that we no longer make anything in America. What more is there?


* They also thought "How can we get members to pay for our pepperoni pizza lunch every Thursday".
** The total Environmental Lobby***** spend was $16M in 2011. When you take the 2011 spend of the Oil & Gas lobby at $150M plus the Mining Lobby spend at $32M you find that the Environmental lobby is outspent by more than ten to one just by these two lobbies alone. And I imagine that ranchers and farmers and other lobbying groups spend money ensuring that they will prevail as stewards of the land. Everybody wants to be king.
*** I stole that part about the herring from Monty Python. It isn't true. In fact, they cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a Brook Trout. That isn't true either.
**** True story. He's now better informed.
***** I know, you don't think of TU as an "environmental" group (unless you do) but that's where they're lumped for the purposes of tracking spend on lobbying.
****** Where the hell did TU get the money for an aircraft carrier? And what headwaters stream can they float that thing on? I sense they're getting away from their true mission.
******* I did find one honest-to-god Five and Dime type department store on Stewart Ave. in Roscoe, NY. I expect that now that this cat is out of the bag, Walmart will kill this one too.

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