November 15, 2020
Mr. David Yarnold
National Audubon Society
225 Varick Street, 7th Floor
New York NY 10014
Early this morning, I picked up my copy of the Fall 2020 issue of Aubudon. It did not take long before I became irritated. I have been a supporter of the National Audubon Society off and on for a long time and will continue to do so. However, all of the now “political correctness” is nauseating. The first thing I would suggest is that you move out of New York City to somewhere in the middle of the country where life is a bit different.
So, I began to read, “Revealing the Past to Create the Future”. Your article could well have been written by Black Lives Matter. Prior generations had their faults as do we, but groveling at the feet of who knows who and erasing history, tearing down statues, renaming everything, and more is not the way forward. We must honor the accomplishments of the conservationists and environmentalists of yesteryear while at the same time forgiving them for their faults. They are dead. We move forward with corrections.
Then I came upon the sentence, “He enslaved Black people and wrote critically about emancipation”. And I read two pages later about the capitalization of the work “Black” when referring to people who “belong to the African diaspora”. Using the same reasoning, people from old Europe, Scandinavia, and the British Isles should be referred to as “White” with a capital “W”. Even the current AP Style book goes counter to your capitalization decision. Again, it is the political correctness that is nauseating. And, I think from now on I will be calling myself, “European American” or “Scandinavian American”.
So, ya’all need to get a life. Quit all the kowtowing, get on with fixing what needs to be fixed, and stand tall with your purpose for existing.
As you will see from my signature block, I have a varied and wide background. I was fortunate enough to have as a college professor, Dr Durward Allen, one of the giants of conservation in my opinion. I regard him as one of my mentors. He always taught conservation means the “greatest use of a resource for the greatest number of people for the longest time”….. the longest time being forever. Clearly, this means balancing between many values.
The one factor that he did not address and I believe NO environmental or conservation organization is honest about or will publically take a position on is the simple fact that planet Earth cannot and will not sustain a human population in the direction it is going. Every environmental crisis I can think of is rooted in that.
Finally, please get on with the role of the Audubon Society. Don’t get caught up in politics and political correctness.