Global environmental challenges
When people think of hunting and fishing politicians in America — at least prominent ones – two things spring to mind: 1. Republican and 2. Climate change skeptic. Former President George W. Bush, his vice president Dick Cheney and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin all fall into both categories.
But the hunting and fishing crowd — widely seen as reliably Republican because of that’s party’s successful portrayal of itself as the defender of God and guns — has also started to take note of climate change. After all, hunters and anglers are in the outdoors in pursuit of wildlife season after season, year after year.
But what may concern some Republican strategists is that many of them also accept the science of climate change, which overwhelmingly points to fossil fuel emissions as the main cause driving global warming.
This may help explain why Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina broke ranks with his party to outline a compromise to limit carbon emissions in a Sunday New York Times opinion piece he co-wrote with Democratic Senator John Kerry. Hunters and anglers in the U.S. South are widely seen as part of the Republican base and his call for action was saluted on Wednesday during a teleconference call hosted by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) and involved other outdoor groups.
Sarah Palin’s looming departure from the governor’s office in Alaska may deprive at least one animal welfare group of a key source of green.
The moose-hunting and ultra-conservative hockey mom shot to national prominence last year as John McCain’s vice presidential running mate on the losing Republican ticket. Palin, who in a surprise move said on Friday that she would step down this month as Alaskan governor, remains a political lighting rod who is loved and loathed in equal measure.
Few animal welfare issues are as emotive as trapping. For some people it is a barbaric relic of an unenlightened past that inflicts needless cruelty on wild animals.
For others especially in places such as the Canadian and American countryside it is a way of life passed down through generations as well as a welcome, seasonal supplement to rural incomes.