Combating Conservation Issue Fatigue

Those that follow our site are likely to read the following discussion on the topic of “issue fatigue” and remark, “Hello pot, meet kettle.”   For those of us who spend time trying to mobilize citizen interest in matters pertaining to natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation, the high volume of policy issues over the past two years left even the most committed to cry “No Mas!”

Much has been written in the blogoshpere about topics relating to various types of electronic messaging fatigue. For many charities and non-profits, the issue of donor fatigue had increasingly become a concern, especially during the depths of the most recent recession.

In recent weeks alone, we have asked people to call or write their State legislators on HB-4668 (DNR License Fee Package), SB-288 (Science-based Wildlife Management) and SB-78 (Biodiversity).   Although not all are fully resolved, the good news is that we’ve been seeing more wins than losses. CastleRock

At the national level, we recently sought your help on the U.S. Farm Bill which was defeated last week in the House of Representatives.  Although a long way from northern Michigan, we also recently encouraged comment on the E.P.A. permitting process pertaining to Alaska’s Bristol Bay.  The potential list goes on and on.

Incredible as it may seem, most conservation and hunter/angler organizations recognize the reality of people’s daily lives and the time limitations forced upon them.  For this reason, most conservation groups are very measured in how they use the attention-capital of their members and supporters on issue-based messaging.  There is only so much to go around.

The unfortunate reality, however, is this – in order to just hold our own on these issues in the face of disturbing trends, it will be necessary for all of us to be selective on our messaging, yet committed when the needs arise.

When some ask why we didn’t send out a “call to action” in support or opposition to an issue, in most cases the reason are twofold. First, it was likely being covered well by others who have a far greater reach than does our site, or second, we just want to save “the ask” for those issues we feel are the most critical and consistent with those topics which garner the most interest and “clicks” on our site.

The obvious challenge is finding that perfect balance between saying too much, and not saying enough. Although it may not look like it at times, we feel your fatigue and most days our Inbox is full, too.

At least for now, it’s time to give it all a rest, get outside, and remember why these issues are important to us.

About Northern Michigan Conservation Network

The mission of the Northern Michigan Conservation Network is to "connect conservation-minded hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts to those issues affecting Michigan's forests, waters, and wildlife."

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