We environmentalists are not very well-liked in Montana. The Democrats don’t like us. The Republicans hate us. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the U.S. Forest Service consider us a problematic, litigious pain in the butt. And hunters and trappers despise us. Only the lawyers and the vast majority of Americans like us —and the wildlife love us dearly.

All we want out of life is to save the planet Earth from the next, sixth mass extinction, already underway, due to scientifically proven global warming, and reserve scientifically adequate wilderness habitat for the animals.

So, how do we go about accomplishing our wish list? I am not sure the forces against us can be defeated, but if survival of the planet matters, they must. They represent business capitalism without conscience; the economy before ecology; jobs at any cost; anti-Darwinian evolution teachings; anti-animal rights; hunting animals; trapping animals; allowing noise pollution from motorized recreational vehicles to terrorize wildlife; mining “dirty” Montana coal; building tar sands oil pipelines through Montana; gas pipelines through national parks; risking powerful explosions and toxic contamination to bodies of water from train derailments to ship coal and oil; anti-more designated scenic river corridors and pristine lakes and more designated wilderness areas; pro-conversion of America’s public lands stewardship to Montana’s controlled lands for future sale to private wealthy investors’ ownership; and forcing us all to breathe dirty air and drink polluted water.

That represents a lot of people, who first and foremost crave money, to win over to our way of thinking and doing things. Do they actually even care? They fail to realize that the earth is the one and only life support system we have, and when it’s gone, so are we.

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We have a lot of dirty names the “other side” has branded us with: Greenies, tree huggers, conservationists, naturalists, enviros, et al; and we are harassed, ostracized, criticized, scorned, shunned and generally denied many accesses to jobs, goods and services in this Flathead County atmosphere we live in. Valid reasons for such treatment escape me.

Here is our wish list to change the culture of this society we live in:

  • Stop killing animals by hunting and trapping and poisoning them. (Sign petitions by Footloose Montana for ballot initiatives to stop trapping on public lands: www.footloosemontana.org.)
  • Do not delist grizzly bears, bald eagles, wolves and other wildlife from the endangered species list.
  • Do list wolverines, Canada lynx, bison, et al, which must be added for the preservation of the natural ecosystem. 
  • Preserve America’s public land stewardship that lies in Montana.
  • Remove from office current leaders, with their lifetime tenured jobs with Montana FWP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service, that lie with impunity to the public and are not protecting wildlife enough from hunters, trappers, loggers and snowmobilers.
  • Exclude renegade pseudo-environmental groups from our midst who have joined with politicians and Montana FWP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service to justify surrendering wildlife habitat to logging and motorized access use.
  • Redirect that membership to join real environmental groups.
  • Recognize that the Native American Indian tribes are superior stewards of the land and wildlife than Montana FWP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service.
  • Criminalize and punish human-caused illegal wildlife mortality.
  • Insist on government scientists (paid with our taxes) advocating for wildlife, wilderness and against global warming. 
  • Maintain clean and healthy rivers and lakes. (Support the efforts of Montanans for Healthy Rivers on your behalf.)
  • Monitor railroad tracks for possible derailment risks along the Flathead River corridors. (Push BNSF Railroad to do better by supporting Glacier Climate Action out of Whitefish.)
  • Eliminate coal and oil trains routed dangerously through this area. (Change the minds of U.S. Sens. Jon Tester, Steve Daines and U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, who promote these trains for commerce.)
  • Embrace John Muir’s brilliant teachings: “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
  • Honor Albert Einstein’s genius: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
  • Help our judiciary to gain the necessary wisdom to better judge.
  • Consult with Pope Francis on mankind-caused global warming. He gets it.

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Bill Baum, retiree who came to Montana to save wildlife for posterity

Bill Baum

Retired Aerospace Engineer & Computer Scientist

Post-graduate studies in Law & MBA

Substitute high school teacher

Editorial columnist and technical writer

Wildlife advocate & research ecology assistant

Realtor in the wildlands-urban-interface

Advisor in growth policy planning & subdivision regulations


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