Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Bald Eagle is not Conservative

Many people on social media have images like this bald eagle superimposed with an American flag for their cover and/or profile photo. You have seen them before.

After surveying countless conversations and posts on social media sites, I've come to the conclusion that most of these same people do not support strong environmental regulations and many want to defund or dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency entirely - even as the American bald eagle's ongoing existence relies upon government regulation and enforcement of environmental protections.

The bald eagle is not conservative.  This bird shouldn't be a symbol for virulent nationalism or right wing identity politics.  It shouldn't be an icon for deregulatory political movements.

The bald eagle is, first and foremost, an apex predator whose habitat has been established long before the North American land mass was carved up according to European immigrants.  In the latter half of the 20th century, the bird nearly went extinct due to human causes: habitat loss, decline of prey populations, hunting, and chemical poisoning (source).

So to display the bald eagle as a political mascot while supporting an administration that moves to gut the Endangered Species Act is tragic, misguided, and desecrates the honor of all plants and animals, great and small.


The cost of Trump's Endangered Species Act proposal

"The proposed change is the latest in a series of White House efforts to remove environmental regulations designed to protect vulnerable species and their habitats, as well as leave untouched some of America's most wild places.

Environmentalist groups have reacted with outrage, and the Center for Biological Diversity said "these proposals would slam a wrecking ball into the most crucial protections for our most endangered wildlife".

"If these regulations had been in place in the 1970s, the bald eagle and the grey whale would be extinct today."  (source)

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