I can’t escape politics, even in my backyard

The National and North Carolina Wildlife Federations support climate change regulations and legislation.

Okeefe T Headshot

Former U.S. speaker of the House of Representatives, Thomas (Tip) O’Neil is credited with the saying, “All politics is local.” I was exposed to an interesting twist on this statement the other day while attending a spring garden luncheon which served as a fundraiser for a truly worthwhile local charity.

After the lunch, a guest speaker asked the audience, all of whom presumably have an interest in gardening, to consider filling out a form and paying $20 to have their yard/property designated as “Certified Wildlife Habitat” by the National Wildlife Federation. The city mayor wants to get enough properties certified so that the city can become a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat. It all sounded like a nice thing, you just have to pledge that your property provides food sources, water sources, places for cover and places to raise young for wildlife.

My wife and I live outside the city limits, but since our mailing address has the city name, our 11-acre horse residence and cat flophouse would count toward the required number of residences needed. But, then I started reading the literature that came along with the application form.

The brochure I was given for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF), dated “Fall of 2009,” calls for members to petition our U.S. Senators to support climate change legislation. It is possible that NCWF was mistaken in 2009, but now, five years later, maybe they have seen the light. Unfortunately, on the NCWF website there is a statement supporting U.S. EPA’s new rules for coal-powered electricity generation plants. Interestingly, this report is somewhat critical of the Obama administration, because climate change is not cited as the “Raison d’etre” for the rules:

“The administration is promoting these rules as a means of improving air quality and human health, yet somewhat downplaying the impact on climate change. Apparently we still have climate change deniers in both our state and federal legislatures who will oppose these new rules.”

It appears that my “backyard” has indeed become a political battleground. I will not participate in the National Wildlife Federation’s certification program, because this organization and its local offshoot, the NCWF, are political activist groups espousing positions that I disagree with. I don’t want my name showing up on any membership list that these groups might use to advocate against my wishes.

My property won’t be a “Certified Wildlife Habitat.” The wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and all the other critters will just have to settle for “squatting” on uncertified land.

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