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The Lorax


Calling all Loraxes

Populism is a bad word these days as it challenges the status quo. But real populism just means support for the concerns of the “ordinary” people.

And the “ordinary people” means normal people like you and me and Uncle Fred in Liverpool and Joyce living next door. We are concerned about many things, and one of our concerns is surely the precipitous decline in all wildlife species that used to fill our lives with joy. From a songbird to a butterfly to a badger to an elephant to a lion – we are losing them all.

Will our children derive joy from seeing what we saw first hand but now only available on TV? Will older people in future be asked to tell stories to open-mouthed children about the time they saw a real elephant or a lion on the African savannas?  How many of you have read the story of the Lorax to your children or were read that story by your parents?

This is where we need to become populists again. In the positive sense – reclaiming our wish to save what is important to us from those who would wish to destroy it for commercial gain. Commerce has no representation in the wonder and delight of nature, but it creeps in via what governments and some NGOs would brazenly call “sustainable utilization” of wildlife. And they rely on normal people like you and me and Uncle Fred and Joyce next door to read their placatory statements, breathe in the stupefying narcotic spin emanating from CITES, the IUCN and some other large NGOs, and slip into peaceful sleep saying “how wonderful life is with all those protectors in the world”.

Not. You and Uncle Fred and Joyce next door need to stop delegating and yourselves become the protectors, defenders, guardians, bodyguards, populists. Moral and ethical people standing up to the failed programs we allowed others to run with for the past decades to no benefit. Ask yourselves this – what species has benefited from “sustainable utilization” so happily promoted by governments and some NGOs?

And becoming a populist means putting a bit of fire under the seat of those you elected to represent you in government.

Write to them, take time to meet them, question them. You are their employer, and they are answerable in the first instance to you. They have a duty to answer you.

Do not be put off with silence or nonsense. It is a fact that in the UK, Members of Parliament are required to answer letters posted by their constituents. It is also a fact that many MPs use a commercial service called the Policy Research Unit to write letters for them. This is not acceptable, as you asked them about something that concerns you - and they all too often reply with an answering service?

As the MPs all use the same service, many different constituents will get the same reply. Let’s collect these standard replies to different constituents with different MP signatures and shame them. Send these MP replies to us as we will recognize an answering service reply in an instant.

Populism means no more complacency. Just look at all those people in protest marches against Donald by millions of women (and men) across the USA and in so many world cities the day after his inauguration. Shake off the cobwebs of false contentment you perhaps gained by having bought some assuaging “adoption” package of a gorilla, lion, snow leopard – and get engaged. Please, we need you and Uncle Fred and Joyce next door to make what could well be the final stand. Be the Lorax!

Picture credit: Random House

Posted by Chris Macsween at 18:54

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