September 5, 2011 | By:

Review of Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife

Guest blog by Leon Kolankiewicz, wildlife biologist and environmental planner.

This book review was originally posted August 9, 2011 on NumbersUSA

blank“How far conservationists and environmentalists have fallen from what now seem to me to be the Golden Years of the 1960s and 1970s.  No wonder I’m such an old sorehead.”

— Dave Foreman, Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife (Durango, CO: Raven’s Eye Press, 2011; p. 121)

As a founder of Earth First!, The Wildlands Project, and the Rewilding Institute, as well as the author of Confessions of an Eco-Warrior and other books, Dave Foreman is one of America’s most iconic living conservationists.  Foreman belongs in an elite outfit we might call the Old Guard Conservationists, including such legends as David Brower (one-time Sierra Club executive director and board member, founder of Friends of the Earth, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Earth Island Institute), Senator Gaylord Nelson (founder of Earth Day, counselor for the Wilderness Society), Captain Paul Watson (founder of Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society), and Stewart Udall (former Interior Secretary in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and author of the conservation classic The Quiet Crisis).

It is no exaggeration that these same individuals helped shape the America we live in today.  Our country is a far better place than it might have been without their endeavors, and those of other leaders and their legions of followers.   This is because – in spite of the beleaguered condition and troubled future of the American environment – today our country goes to much greater lengths and expense to protect our shared natural heritage than it used to before these heroes began their teach-ins, protests, organizing, lawmaking, lawsuits, newspaper ads, marches, speeches, direct action, books, and civil disobedience.  And the beneficiaries of all these efforts, awareness, and funding are our treasured wildlife, endangered species, wilderness, clean air and water, open space, public health, national parks, forests, and fisheries.  And of course, the Americans who care about these things.

It is also no exaggeration that the Old Guard Conservationists, those coming of age or already in their prime around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, recognized the role of explosive, unsustainable human population growth in piling ever more pressure on the environment.

In contrast, with precious few exceptions, at least in their public postures, contemporary leaders of the politically correct Environmental Establishment either tend to ignore U.S. overpopulation altogether (their preferred strategy), or when pressed, actively dismiss or minimize its role as a causative agent of greater environmental impacts.  (At the same time, in a hushed tone or whisper, some may tell you that of course population is a huge issue, but it’s also a radioactive one that they and their organization must avoid at all costs.)

By the Environmental Establishment, I mean the well-funded, well-connected, politically potent, big national environmental groups.

Please click on the attachment below to read Leon’s entire article.


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12 years ago

I always feel a not-so-undercurrent of deep deep sadness these days about where we are as a society in our denial of the importance of and just plain lack of caring about wildlife, wilderness and climate change. There’s no progress, just a relentless chipping away, chipping away. Humans are the scourge of this planet.

Jeff Biss
12 years ago

Basically, humans need to feel special, that they create value systems and thus moralities that place them above accountability. Look at any religion and you’ll find that they were created to that end and thus place those that are nonhuman far beneath contempt, along with heretics and other nonbelievers.

The fact is that this obviates the very concept of rights as we, who are supposedly moral beings, choose to disregard those we don’t value. In fact, our brutal and cavalier behavior towards those we don’t value obviates any contention that any given morality is not relative.

We, as moral beings, have obligations to all others, whether we value them or not. That we choose to harm, as we do to any nonhuman animal, makes us immoral by default. We just don’t give a damn about our victims. Overall, we are truly pathetic and there seems to be little chance of us changing for the better.

Patricia Randolph
12 years ago

As long as killing licenses are the major internal funding mechanism of state agencies vying for Pittman-Robertson funds from the feds by the most killing licenses sold, we will have state agencies that are just trophy and recreational killing brokerages of our wildlife.

We must have a major nationwide movement to general public funding for state agencies. 60% of Pittman-Robertson funds derive from home protection and gun collectors, but all of the funds are dedicated to stocking wildlife and orchestrating trapping and hunting wildlife.

There are no “saving” licenses to democratize the state or federal systems. This is a systemic democracy buster. Who do state and federal agencies listen to? Only their clientele who kill wildlife enmasse.

In Wisconsin right now, they are in the process of 19,000 men, women and 10 yr. olds loosing dogs on black bears for five weeks, to kill 5,200 black bears, 61% of them yearling cubs. They have been baiting them since April when they came out of hibernation, and hounding them with as many people as wanted to buy licenses (some 10,000) from July 1 – August 31 just when they need to be putting on fat for winter and eating every day. So for 15 weeks just before winter, the bears are being hounded and then killed enmasse.

The hunting lobby and DNR have also lobbied non-stop to kill 450 of our (maybe) 800 wolves:

The need for continuous local MEDIA for LIVING wildlife and respect for wildlife is ubiquitous. In Wisconsin and across much of this country, the source of information for the public is the “outdoors” pages which are trophy and recreational killing advocacy. I found that people who do not kill wildlife not only do not participate in decisions about our commonwealth public lands and the fate of our wildlife, but do not read the outdoors pages at all and know little or nothing.

After lobbying for over a decade to our major newspapers to give me a column for living wildlife and an alternative point of view for the wildlife watching public, I created a position at the venerable old progressive newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, the Capital Times (now online). My column is called MADRAVENSPEAK and it comes out every other Sunday. If you put that as one word into Google, all 18 columns I have written since January emerge.

I hope the Rewilding Project with your many contacts will start writing a column for newspapers to pick up across the country and educate the general public for the first time. And push for general public funding to draw the public into participation and balancing against the destruction of our wildlife. If you look at the National Audubon Economic Impacts of Wildlife Watching 2006 vs. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Economic Impacts of Hunting – wildlife watching has risen 8% per year the past decade as hunters declined 1% per year. Wildlife watchers in Wisconsin bring 11 times the revenue to state and local tax coffers of hunters. If we could divert that money to state agencies WITH proportionate power, we could do much to rewild and protect large predators, mid-range predators and reclaim former wildlife refuges and push for connectivity.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x