Long gone are the days of Walter Cronkite where one need not worry, or worry less, about the accuracy or objectivity of the day’s news and current events. Sadly, mainstream journalism and print media have become a casualty of today’s hyper-political partisanship and tribalism. So much so that the public is bombarded hourly with half-truths and downright lies.
While news outlets and opponents are quick to point out and decry the President’s oft detachment from facts, many knowingly engage in their own lies and deceptive campaigns.
As one who has devoted his life to the pursuit of good conservation and wise environmental stewardship, what I have learned most is that good governance and management begins with knowledge and a grasp of the facts. Not facts skewed and slanted through a political lens.
One need not look any further than the issue of anthropogenic climate change to understand my point. On one hand, one political tribe views the issue as nothing more than a hoax and ruse for more big government; the other tribe calls it the most urgent existential crisis of our time.
Facts be damned.
As the old saying goes, facts are a stubborn thing. Competing “facts” are not uncommon. But what’s uncommon in our time are those who are working hard to cut through the journalistic pablum and politically tainted analysis to get closer to reality. Who is credible and more worthy to be believed on important environmental matters, like climate change, clean air and water, species protection, Amazonian fires?
Many have likely read or heard about the Trump Administration’s recent sweeping changes to regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act. News outlets like the NY Times and Washington Post have painted the proposed changes with apocalyptic scenarios of mass species extinction. Very few news outlets, if any, have reported anything positive about the Trump proposal.
Which leads to my main point and the one bright spot of this post. For those who remain interested in objective analysis and facts, there is a go-to source.
My good friend, Tim Male, who served in the last Administration, has established the Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) which is doing great things, but mainly advocating for positive environmental change free from political baggage. This week, EPIC published a helpful analysis of the proposed ESA regulatory changes, highlighting both the good and the bad. The analysis can be found here, and I would encourage everyone to read it.
Kudos to Tim and his team.