|What is Advocacy?|
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What is advocacy?
To reform means to bring about a desired result, quite different from existing conditions.
What is there to reform–traditions and progressive ideas?
In society there has been a split in approaches to reform since the 1790s in Europe & America:
Successful Advocates know:
"The land, water, air and living things of the United States are a heritage of the whole nation. They need to be protected for the benefit of all Americans, both now and in the future. The continued strength and welfare of our nation depend on the quantity and quality of our resources and on the quality of the environment in which our people live."
The Environmental Pollution Panel of the Presidents Science Advisory Committee. 1965
The best defense against tyranny is an educated public, Thomas Jefferson once argued. A more literate and better-educated national citizenry exists than at any time in our past, yet a palpable loss of liberty is apparent. Once extensive and sufficient wildlife refuges, national forests and parks of the public domain were adequate to meet our needs. But that protection is eroding now. These public lands legal protection has been compromised by water contamination and air pollution.
In recent years Congress (since 1994) has paid more attention to industry lobbyists in resisting efforts to bring the existing corpus of environmental protection legislation up to date with current scientific findings. Since the 1970s the atmosphere's loss of ozone, sharper rise in carbon dioxide content, and saturation with POPS or persistent organic pollutants threatens 100 years of accumulated wisdom about how to conserve our resources while protecting land, air, and water as the population grows.
The late President Kennedy, who called a White House Conference on Conservation, in 1962, warned that the protection of the common estate from those who would despoil it is a never-ending struggle. In those terms modern democracy really requires more than an educated public, it demands a vigilant vanguard or well-informed and motivated people to inform Congress and the public about recent and ongoing scientific discoveries that can be used protect the public domain and the common property resources that we all depend upon.
The Pew Oceans Commission reported last year the loss of marine fisheries to exhaustion and coastal pollution -- largely from and due to fossil fuels for energy. A series of distress signals now show that the assimilative capacity of once inexhaustible resources is exceeded and approaching exhaustion. The oceans, called a global commons, are at risk. World climate, altered by air pollution, has changed. Can further unraveling of the ecological services we depend upon be far behind? The matter is not so much will the ecological life support system fail, but how and when the losses will adversely affect human populations?
The problems we face today surpass the structural safeguards created in the 19th century to conserve natural resources for a growing population.
"Clean Air" reads a sign of the times in Manhattan, New York.
The coalition of Republicans and Democrats that emerged in 1900 and grew in power during the 1930s and 50s achieved major changes in national conservation policy making it the basis of environmental protection in the late 1960s and 1970s.
The bipartisan coalition began to unravel in the 1980s and by the 1990s was on the defensive. The ideals of conservation today in protecting land, air and water resources are no longer shared by large segments of the population or Congress.
Unless a new image and a new vision emerge, the nation's natural heritage will be sacrificed by a further loss of wildlife, due to fragmentation of essential wild areas, persistent air and water pollution, and loss of sufficient outdoor recreational lands.
Carol Browner has suggested vision and reform based on science were long overdue five years ago. The pressing demands have only grown and the window of opportunity in addressing these matters is closing more rapidly the longer we wait. Like compound interest on debt, the longer we wait to reduce pollution, the harder it will be and the costlier it will become to reduce ever growing perils to air and water sources. Common sense solutions exist now and can be employed with no regrets.
Delay is not an option due to the enormity of the problem caused by rising per capita pollution and the difficulty, due to resistance, in reducing nitrogen, carbon dioxide and mercury wastes from pervasive and persistent fossil fuel combustion.
Last Updated on August 2, 2007
By Joseph Siry