Taking Action to Help Wildlife Adapt to a Changing Climate

Here at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Phoenix, National Wildlife Federation’s Senior Wildlife Biologist Doug Inkley was an invited speaker for an all day workshop on climate change impacts on wildlife, fisheries and outdoor recreation.

Expecting about 20-30 people, the room was packed with more than 250 professionals in natural resource conservation. As one participant mentioned to me, “everyone was really listening. It wasn’t about does global warming exist, instead people wanted to know what are we going to do about it.”

TortoiseThe attendees are looking for management solutions and what can be done to minimize and avoid impacts on fish and wildlife, and the habitats they need to survive. They were grateful for the National Wildlife Federation’s and The Wildlife Society’s persistence to raise awareness about global warming impacts and the need to find solutions that help wildlife. Many natural resource managers now realize they have to put climate change at the front and center on their agenda if they expect to be successful in conserving fish and wildlife.

Getting this kind of traction in the natural resource community is significant! As I get myself ready for today’s sessions on energy and wildlife policy, I’m listening to Senator McCain’s foreign policy address at the World Affairs conference. He calls for the need for U.S. leadership on global warming, including a cap and trade mechanism:

We and the other nations of the world must get serious about substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years or we will hand off a much-diminished world to our grandchildren. We need a successor to the Kyoto Treaty, a cap-and-trade system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an economically responsible manner. We Americans must lead by example and encourage the participation of the rest of the world, including most importantly, the developing economic powerhouses of China and India.

Time is running out, but at least we are now talking about solutions and not wasting precious time debating the science.