Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Countdown To CAOmageddon: Flaw #39 - RIP Eco-Strategies

There was a brief pause in the countdown as I caught up on some accumulated non-TH obligations.

An interesting headline appeared today that fits our series-within-a-series theme related to "environmental organizations." We've been talking about how environmental organizations are out-of-step with people. That's not surprising, considering that many environmental organizations portray humanity as an infestation needing extermination.

Today we received news that "People for Puget Sound" is closing its doors. It seems that times are hard for everyone, including the eco-activists.

I think it's more than just a sign of the economic times, though. For 20 years or more, the trendiest green ideas related to land use have sought to push people into cities and keep them out of the country. It has become harder and harder to live in rural areas. As you sow, so shall you reap. As fewer and fewer of our population live in the country, fewer will have country values; fewer will have an intimate relationship with nature; fewer will want to protect it. An increasing disregard for nature is showing up in the data.

In the end, the strategy hatched to save the environment will threaten it, since the greatest protectors of nature are the people who have contact with it; who live and work in it. Persecution of country people, in the end, will lead to persecution of the environment.

People for Puget Sound ... rest in peace.


  1. Interesting times....
    People for Puget Sound was in the past a very positive player in Washington--during the 90s they worked closely with many rural user groups to protect resources for human use--most notably the commercial and tribal fishing industries. They were instrumental in defeating Initiative 640 in 1995--a pseudo environmental initiative funded by development, hydropower and big timber interests that would have effectively banned commercial
    fishing in Washington. The approach of PFPS at that time was to engage the productive sector in conservation and risk abatement, rather than build fences around resources. Another prime example is their instrumental role in building the oil spill prevention and response infrastructure in our state. PFPS positioned itself during this time as one of the broadest based, most respected and most effective environmental groups around. Along with this came financial stability. In recent times, however PFPS began operating more like a covenants enforcer in a gated community, pushing narrow aesthetic and use conflict issues under the guise of environmentalism. A good example of this is their pointless, destructive involvement in the shellfish wars in Pierce County--this time on the side of grumpy waterfront homeowners, against the blue collar productive grower community. Further, they shed their traditional independent watchdog role and became overt partisanorang reflexive cheerleaders for efforts like the Puget Sound Partnership, even as the Partnership lost it's way in bureaucracy and cronyism.
    The death of PFPS is both a sad and salutory lesson in the challenges of keeping an organization true and dynamic-/how easily drift and corruption can overwhelm even the most dedicated group. I am very sorry to have lost PFPS as they were at one time. But I guess they have been gone for a while now.

  2. How many "environmental" non-profits does one region need? How many executive directors, science directors, lawyers, staff do we need duplicating the work of others? How many meetings and conferences must be held just to begin to coordinate what all these different actors are doing? How many shiny fundraising brochures are being printed? How many meetings are now focused on getting funds just to keep administration going, real mission be damned. Sad, because PFPS seemed like a less radical, more effective organization.

  3. At least San Juan County still has the headquarters of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, right here in Friday Harbor!

  4. I am trying to think of a parallel between the Friends of the San Juans and PFPP. Both outfits lost their way so that's something in common. But FOSJ still exists. Although over the past year the veil got ripped off and they lost virtually all credibility in the community. No one really takes them seriously any longer. But they have more cash on reserve than nearly any real local nonprofit that actually does good work. Are they now in a slow death spiral, dipping into savings, cutting back, are their funders wondering if the Nature Conservancy's new strategies are going to transform the movement, and will FOSJ be able to ... how shall I put this ... "adaptively manage." No. Don't think so. They are just a tiny local version of North Korea. Lost in time but still able to toss bombs around.

  5. It is with a midnight prayer that I hope someone in County Government, ANYONE... would read the posts here.

  6. I'm not sure fewer people are living in the country, maybe a smaller percentage of our population. Opinions about environmental groups aside, I am not sure we necessarily want more people living in the country as the side effects of that usually result in less country to value and appreciate. Simply put, without the majority of our populations in cities there won't be any country left.

  7. For the last commenter, I invite you to look at this link:


    And further statistics show the disconnect that is happening between nature and people as we become more urban. It may seem counter-intuitive, but people living in the country, protect it. The worst rapers and pillagers of the land are absentee owners. They don't have to live with the consequences.

  8. ECK, thank you for linking that article. The relationship between urban and rural is certainly not a simple one. I agree that if push came to shove that rural dwellers are going to have a clear advantage. However, practically speaking both areas are tied to one another whether they like it or not. The disconnect with nature is a modern problem, and I couldn't agree more with you about absentee owners, in any context.