Yup, Mark, that's why I say that I believe things are going to have to get a lot worse yet before they have much of a chance to get better, because people still don't care anywhere near enough to actually do anything meaningful about it. The public - even this especially interested segment of the public here at FHF, with its focus on particular wildlife - just isn't willing to accept responsibility for anything beyond their own personal behavior (if even that), and doesn't pay much attention to anything that doesn't enter their own personal (and decidedly short-term) cost/benefit analyses. How many of us here do you suppose will even bother to vote this year? And of those, how many do you suppose will be persuaded to vote for some rabble-rouser out there wailing that "Taxes are too high!", "Government is too big and meddlesome! It needs to get out of the way of business!", etc.?
It's well known that mid-year elections, such as this year's will be, strongly favor Republican candidates. It's just about as well known that this is because their astonishingly effective propaganda outlets (most notably Fox News and talk radio) are constantly stirring up anger and fear at foolish causes ("Gays are going to be allowed to marry?!?", "They're going to take away your guns!!!", "Christians are under attack in this, God's holy Christian nation!!!", etc.). This chases the people they want to the polls while at the same time chases the people they don't want away (as the latter become disgusted by all things political), and most importantly it distracts everyone from the kinds of issues that truly make a difference to them and their descendants, such as climate-changing pollution and the meaningful regulation of industry that's necessary to get it under control. The folks decrying nearly anything and everything scientific - as science associated with human health and the environment all too often point out the need for oversight and regulation of corporate activities - already have most state legislatures and the House well in hand, and thanks to it being a mid-year will likely have the Senate after this coming election, too. If they somehow manage to get the presidency in another two years as well (always a real possibility, though more people still care about and so vote for that office), then they'll be able to make however many Supreme Court nominations absolutely unimpeded
and really stack the deck in every way imaginable - legislative, executive and judicial - for decades to come
. Even if they don't get the presidency (and from there an even stronger grip on the Supreme Court than they already have) they'll continue to be able to stop any meaningful action from being taken simply via their control of a divided (or worse, a soon-to-be-united-Republican) congress. Sure, once they're firmly in charge for some time then people will eventually see that they're - and have been for quite a while - a huge part of the problem, and they'll be compelled to change or be voted out of office (once upon a time many/most Republican politicians were actually staunch defenders of the environment, so these things do oscillate), but no one knows how long that will take nor how much we'll all have lost in the meantime. Except that the environmental losses will indeed be considerable.
But we're not supposed to talk about this kind of stuff (here or pretty much anywhere else), as it makes some folks contentious and a whole bunch more uncomfortable...
I began my professional career in wildlife conservation in the mid-1980s, and I said this just as soon as I recognized it to be true which was almost as soon as I began, and it's only become ever clearer to me to the present day: There are two kinds of people who can manage to spend their entire lives working on behalf of wildlife/wild lands conservation: those who can somehow perpetually delude themselves into believing they can turn things around, and those who know they can't but somehow find cause to continue the fight, regardless. I've always been in the latter group. I figure it's a more satisfying way to spend my life than any other, anyway.
We here concern ourselves with herps, which frankly most of the human population (even in advanced countries) really don't care very much about. I started my career working on tigers, a big, fuzzy species just about everyone does
care about - very many quite passionately - here, there and everywhere. We've known longer than I've been alive what kind of serious trouble they're in, we've had good ideas of what to do about it for maybe that long, and we've worked much of my life to improve the situation. Some of my colleagues literally spent their entire careers and by far the largest part of their entire lives primarily on that one issue. A great many others have done what they could see a way to do. And what do we have to show for all of it? When I joined that work in the mid-80's we estimated there to be perhaps 6,000-7,000 tigers remaining on earth, and now we figure there to be less than half that number.
So much for the future prospects of a great many/most herp species...