Views on Conservation Groups

Posted: July 29, 2012 in Conservation, Shark News
Tags: , , ,

So lately there has been a fair amount of discussion taking place concerning various conservation groups, the methods they use, as well as their true agenda’s.

Basically in my humble opinion, they fall into the following categories, The Show Boats, the Sloggers, the Volunteers, The Public Media Conservationists, and then the Piggy Backers.

Lets start with the Show Boats Shall we? They are the ones who are in the lime light, in front of the camera’s and always in the public eye, they are the ones who make conservation “Cool”. They are also the ones who’s names are on everyone’s lips.  I will divide this category into two groups, “Famous Conservationists” and then “Fame Hunting Conservationists” The “Famous Conservationists” are truly dedicated to the cause, they are the ones who have gained fame through their life long conservation efforts. A few names come to mind here, but i intend not to mention names in this Post so that you can make up your own minds. Now onto the “Fame Hunters” whom are more interested in the fame than the goal of making conservation a reality. They come up with clever marketing methods, catch phrases and self promotion. Yet when looking at their actual achievements, you will notice they have very little, if any success. There is an argument that the “Air Time” those interested in fame get is actually a positive thing since it does fall under the banner of “Conservation” and since they have a following, it brings the message to the masses. I don’t buy into that way of thinking though. If someone is seen as a role model, or rather a “Poster Child” for conservation, yet all they are interested in is lining their pockets, then all they manage to achieve is give Conservationists in general a very bad name.

The Sloggers are the ones who have dedicated their lives to conservation, yet do it below the media radar, they get very little if any camera time, and most of them get no funding. They are the ones who day in and day out wade their way through countless amounts of red tape, as well as passing through numerous government offices, for years on end, just to protect a certain species, or have a specific area legally protected. This usually involves sleepless nights, strain on their relationships, and serious financial pressure since it all comes out of their pockets.

The Volunteers are very similar to the “Sloggers“, however most of them link up with the “Show Boats” and work behind the scenes, without them the “Show Boats” would never be able to achieve what they do, they work under the banner of an Organisation or Foundation. And they do it all in their own time and on their own dime.

The “Public Media Conservationists” are the ones who scour the internet, keep their fingers on the conservation pulse, read endless news articles and send out countless petitions to keep us all up to date on the latest conservation news. They , just like the Sloggers and Volunteers, do it all on their own time and dime, also resulting in sleepless nights, and a lot of criticism.

Now we move onto the Piggy Backers. These are the people who wait for the “Sloggers” to do all the work, and then they swoop in at the last moment, and claim the fame for themselves, this has happened quite a few times already, and has caused a lot of friction in the world of conservation, the “Piggy Backers” usually have serious funding behind them, and have a huge public following. In their eyes, and the eyes of their faithful followers, they are the be all and end all of conservation. And if anyone dare speak out against them they are viewed as “Trouble makers”, the “Piggy Backers” can be likened to the “Fame Hunters” since all they care about is fame, and in my opinion they couldn’t care less about conservation if they tried. They are nothing more than parasites, sucking their hosts dry, before moving on to the next host.

Now i’m sure you are sitting there reading this wondering what the point of this blog is, well other than being a way for me to get this off my chest, i hope it will make you sit back and say “Ok…. Well what are we going to do about the fact that all the money is going to those who don’t deserve it, and none of the money is going to those who do….” Well, that is exactly the thing we need to figure out… And i would suggest that you look into various conservation projects in your area, and then figure out who you feel deserves the money the most, instead of just going onto some multi million dollar organisation’s website and clicking the “Donate Now” link…..

And lastly, to all of you Sloggers, Volunteers, and Public Media Conservationists out there, i tip my hat to you, and thank you all for your dedication and hard work, Conservation wouldn’t be possible without you. Keep fighting the good fight!

Views, comments, and opinions are more than welcome

  1. Stephen Rahn says:

    Never be Judgemental, we need everyones help, and dare I say it …. You can change peoples opinion, why else are we here, but for that fact ” Education “.

    • Paul says:

      I appreciate your view Stephen, However i feel we need to support those who actually do the work instead if idolizing those to do nothing.
      The world of Conservation would be much better off if the Fame Hunters and Piggy Backs weren’t involved. And we are the only ones who can make that happen

  2. Ryan says:

    Maybe it would be better to put all this ‘in fighting’ effort into fighting those who are raping the ocean? every hour (writing a carefully worded blog) that is dedicated to fighting people who are on the same side as you is an hour lost to fighting the real enemy. Work it out – we are on the same side with variation in approaches as to how to achieve the goals of conservation. The marine life that is been slaughtered will not thank us as we moan and cry about each others true motivation and right to call ourselves ‘true conservationists’. Re focus that conservation radar you are waving about.

    • Paul says:

      So you feel that those using the money that should go to “Conservation” to line their pockets aren’t Raping the Oceans Ryan? They are worse than those who are actually raping it. Since they claim to be saving the world, in the meantime all they are doing is saving their own bank accounts. Promoting and financing the false conservationists will never save our seas, nor will turning a blind eye to it. The only thing that will save our oceans is to support those that actually do the work.

  3. Well said Paul. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Paul, loved this and quite brilliant as well. I think this post can be summed up:

    “Like all conservation efforts for whales, seals, tuna or sharks, once the movements have gelled it’s important to sit back and take a hard look at current programs and solutions. Not something a lot of folks want to do, but ultimately necessary.”

    “Sideways drift with conservation is something that all efforts suffer from and the notion that any conservation effort which brings “basic awareness” to an issue years down the line, no matter how self serving, is good for the effort – is false.”

    The notion of “can’t we all just get along?” is simplistic and a great disservice to the effort.

    Conservation is not a sing along with a side of hand holding. It is a rough and tumble world of hard won ideas and efforts. Out of that comes brilliance and metrics for success and ultimately success for wildlife.

    • Paul says:

      Hi Patric
      Thankyou very much, i really appreciate that. ANd yes, you’re 100% correct, action MUST eventually be seen, and with some Conservation groups having supposedly been around for 30 odd years, jumping between causes (Seals, Whales, Dolphins, and now Sharks) and still not actually achieved anything, it begs the question, why the hell has no one actually put them to task about their non action…. And by action i don’t mean lobbing stinky butter at ships, i mean actual legislation/protection for the species supposedly being saved.

  5. Gore Tanner says:

    Paul – you have put your finger on an issue that does have implications – the diverting of funds to people and or groups that do not have conservation as their main goal despite their claims and perhaps even their best intentions. Ryan and Stephen also make an essential point, a united front for a worthy cause is better than draining time and resources away through in-fighting. In today’s world, where time is measured in coffee spoons, not tea spoons, it is imperative that the sloggers, volunteers, and public media conservationists understand that there will always be self-promoters adept at cornering the market on “me” who divert attention and money away from them, so they must make their bold leap into the media limelight and get heard. Since conservation in general has once again become a world-wide wave, all the boats, big and little can rise. The smaller groups can be more nimble, but they must assess the media wave so that they can ride it to shore too. Sorry for the watery metaphors, but it seemed fitting for this issue. Education, Diplomacy, Advocacy. Therein lies success.

    • Paul says:

      Gore, i completely understand where you are coming from, and agree with you that the Sloggers, Volunteers and Public Media Conservationists need to get into the lime light, but unfortunately the modern trend for conservation is that people want to see action, sharks on hooks and boats ramming into each other, not to mention people supposedly being shot. And that seriously ruffles the die hard conservationist’s feathers. And as i’m sure you know, most of conservation is boring stuff involving meetings, paperwork, and more meetings… not very interesting television i’m afraid. I do know of a few film makers who are going out there and trying to promote the small scale conservationists. But they, just like the conservation groups they are trying to promote, have zero funding, so the whole thing comes out of their pockets. Very very sad stuff i’m sorry to say

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