Kudos to the outdoor blogging network for this informative video on the fate of sockeye salmon in Alaska. Mining companies are wanting to dig into a literal gold mine up there and fishermen are concerned that the state of their industry is in peril. Perhaps the greatest quote in this video is the fisherman at 2:39: “We think we’re all millionaires,” he says, “if you’re a broke fisherman and you can see the beauty in everything you’ve got a wonderful life.” Right on. The hackneyed sciences of thankfulness, wonder, and a simple love of life trumps the lust of precious metals any day of the week. The science of the commoner trumps the scientific proofs and safe-mining promises of the kings.
Of course, my wife and I fought about whether or not this type of information is out of character for our site or not, so I told her I would mention this point: what we’re trying to form on this site is an appreciation for the good things of this earth. The idea, as I mentioned previously that Richard Louv suggests, is that a public that is outside and holding these values of awe and wonder and experience of the outdoors will in fact make better conservationists. As Aldo Leopold once wrote, “you can tell a good conservationist by how he wields his axe.” People are always going to wield their axes, but the man that cares will wield it better than the man that solely wishes to cut it all down and sell it for millions. Sure, this fisherman might not be attending earth care conferences and participating in environmental activism workshops. In fact, he might not really think much about ecosystems and environmental challenges at all. But I sure know he isn’t over fishing. I know he loves his life and that means he loves these fish. I know he wants the best for his kids, his grand kids, and their way of life, and he wants to know that there will be sockeye in the rivers of Alaska ad infinitum.
So, yes this aint no political rag and we’ll strive to make this so but in my mind, this video demonstrates well a distinction between two axe wielding archetypes: those who carefully use and those who recklessly plunder.