During the last nine years of advocating for wildlife and wild lands, I've talked with many other advocates. Often our conservations touch on challenges we face.
And sometimes we ask: How do you keep going with so few victories to celebrate?
Perhaps that question has nagged you too.
Each advocate has a different approach to persevering. I’ve listed below nine tips gathered from talking with other advocates and from my own soul searching. And these tips for persevering can also help you start advocating.
I've inserted links to some of my posts that provide helpful starting points for learning more.
I hope one or more of these tips resonates with you and helps you keep--or start--advocating in 2021. We need you!
If there are ways that you keep going that I haven’t mentioned, I would love to read your comment or message about them.
Here’s hoping for more victories in 2021.
- Change one mind at a time.
- Educate yourself, your family, your friends.
- Dig deeper and keep learning: knowledge is power.
- Call or write personal emails or letters to legislators and officials.
- Attend hearings; show up and give informed public comment.
- Advocacy doesn’t always require confrontation.
- Direct your anger toward a positive outcome.
- Listen with empathy for the myths behind hate and fear.
- Use facts—not just opinions—to debunk myths.
Prepare to counter the 3 Big Myths
- Wolves are dangerous to humans.
- Wolves plunder livestock.
- Wolves decimate elk and other prey that hunters want.
Advocate for coexistence
Connect with others
- You are not alone; find allies.
- Volunteer with a conservation organization.
Go for swing votes
- If somebody hates wolves, we are not likely to change that opinion.
- If somebody loves wolves, that may limit their seeing the wolf controversy from both sides.
- But there is a group of people in the middle—what politicians call “swing voters.” Those are the people we want to reach.
- Move swing voters towards a respect for wolves. They don’t need to hate or love wolves, but hopefully they can see wolves as wild animals we can learn to coexist with.
- Perhaps they can see how wolves can help in the battle against chronic wasting disease.
Remember: Changing attitudes takes a long time
- 1926: The last wolf in Yellowstone killed.
- 1944: Aldo Leopold wrote about reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone.
- 1987: The US Fish and Wildlife Service pushes a wolf recovery plan.
- 1995: Wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone.
- 2019: More than 2000 wolves roam Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, California.
- Make visits (local or far ranging) to see wildlife and wild lands.
- Take care of yourself so that you can stay in this for the long haul.
Photo Credit: Wolf in snow by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Rick Lamplugh writes, photographs, and speaks to protect wildlife and wild lands.