I have kept my mouth shut on a lot of personal disappointments I have endured through this process of being involved with fisheries advocacy over the years. I am not willing to divulge the specifics of these here on the blog for a number of reasons – most of which revolve around the trolls who are part of the problem. I don’t worry about them anymore, but I also don’t see how feeding them their lies in this format would help me achieve any headway in promoting what I believe in.
Therefore, I won’t take the time to name them off or give the instances for reference to you. After all, most of you don’t really even know who I am. How could you? We’ve never met in person, and therefore the only thing you know is what you have built me up as in your mind through social media. While I know that sounds a bit crass – I just don’t want those of you who support me in some way – to get all defensive and want to tear them down for the things I have been unfortunate enough to endure with them.
- I don’t get paid for doing this by ANYONE.
- What I do provide to the community is my opinion.
- I donate between $3k-$10k of my own time, design, layout, web development, and social media to non-profits each year.
- What I sell online comes out of my pocket, doesn’t cover my cost, and still I donate money from proceeds – an average 25%.
- I currently live just above the poverty line.
Now, on to the meat of the matter. This new year (and the subsequent anarchy going on through the world from our “democracy” delivering the turd sammich we currently feast on) has had me in a state of pause for a few months now. I really couldn’t believe that we were capable of putting him in power, but again I should have know this was possible from the myriad of hires who were likely less qualified than me who ended up with jobs in the aforementioned “them”. After all, it’s not about what you know – it’s about who you know and how clearly you can bullshit your way through it. I am sure they are all very fine people (except the new POTUS) – and I don’t mean to infer they don’t have heart and passion for the environmental advocacy community. In fact they are certainly passionate about the issues. I just don’t do the “bullshitting” well enough. I am sure I have my parents to blame for my honesty – but I love them anyway.
With that said.
WHAT THE @#$&!
You gotta be kidding me with this new administration!!! Ink wasn’t even dry after the swearing in ceremony and douchebags across the country figured they could just take us back a hundred years with regard to the environment. From selling off Public Lands to private interests, to liquidating them to States who are already over budget with managing their own lands, to flat out removing safe-guards that protect clean water – we have all just entered the Twilight Zone. And the majority of us are just sitting here going, “Yeah well there’s nothing I can do about it”.
I CALL BULLSHIT
You ever been fired because you did something stupid at work that hurt the bottom line? Or perhaps for putting yourself or coworkers at risk of physical harm? Perhaps you may have even stole something? You know what? Our new administration is doing just that!
OK, enough of the politics of the new year, let’s move on to something I mentioned up above that deserves a little attention.
Because very few of you have ever met me in person, you might find my language in this post a bit off from what you normally read. For that, I will not apologize. I am done apologizing and don’t think I really owe anyone beside myself that apology. Again you might say, “WTF! Where did this come from?” To give a superficial view of it, let me put it this way: I have been tame in my language and manner of speaking in an effort to earn a place within this environmental community. That is over. What I have come to realize is that because I acted in that way, I let things persist when I knew they were wrong. Further than that – those of you who do know me personally – you know my passion for these issues goes well beyond what they are willing/capable to do.
What I have received for my activities online came from an amazing place from where I expressed my opinion in the first place. And not with clearance or editing by the environmental community. In fact, the whole reason I have the following I have online is because of the thoughtfulness I have put into the images with written context I share with you.
Here’s a quick and dirty look at the influence I have:
- Average of around 20,000 impressions per week.
- Average of around 5,000 people reached per week
- Average of around 8% conversion for online commerce
You don’t believe me? I don’t care.
From those numbers I have personally spoken with people from all over the country and world who have asked me how they can become a “member/supporter” in some way. To each of them I have told the same, “Get involved – period. Find somewhere in your local area where your passion for the outdoors can be used to support their future.”
For your pleasure here’s a simple case study from a recent interaction:
Online customer/follower (OCF): “I never got my order!”
Me: I show the email confirmation was sent and I followed up with a tracking number for you. Did you not get it? Here it is again just in case…
OCF: “Ok, so it should have been delivered today? And yet nothing! I will give you until tomorrow or I will contact my bank.”
Me: Please contact USPS and give them the tracking number. Maybe they delivered it to your neighbor by accident?
OCF: “Since when is the customer wrong? Im not one bit contacting USPS!”
Me: Dude, I am trying to help, and you think I’m trying to rip you off?
OCF: “But no order!”
Me: So you think I faked the tracking information and scammed you. Is that what you’re saying? Fine, I just refunded you the total. If the order shows up – keep it. I will still honor your donation to the non-profit as well.
OCF: “Well now I feel like a dick.”
Me: No worries man – I stand by my word, sorry for any difficulties.
OCF: “I don’t want the money back! We have the same goals!”
Me: Stuff happens, not worth bad feelings or bad blood.
OCF: “I will order another one!”
Me: Just do what you can in your home area.
OCF: “I’m ordering one right now and sending it to you!”
Me: Dude, I already have one – please don’t
OCF: “Well now you have another one.”
This went on for a bit and we ended up chatting for another hour about local/regional issues we face both for fisheries and for access to public lands. We’ve agreed to donate the shirts we bought each other to someone in our community.
The last thing he said to me was this:
“You are very intelligent and I’m ecstatic you have the balls to put everything on the line to stand up for what the majority of us believe in.”
“I’m just crazy enough to stand up in a crowded room and start dancing when there’s no music playing to try and get others to join in.”
Therein lies the truth of it I think. This has become my reality. People look at what I say and do for a variety of reasons – for support, for insight, for approval, and even sometimes for validation. Because I decided to stand up and dance in a room, I knew at some point someone was going to stop and stare. Some of you even think I don’t know you’re watching… But I do, and I am still dancing. The personal satisfaction I feel from the things I helped get started, helped finish, or helped influence in some way – that is honestly why I do it.
Imagine if you could feel that way. Knowing you have helped to provide a better future for your community. You could feel the same sense of pride I do when a flower grows out of that turd sammich. Believe me, there will be plenty of that turd sammich for the rest of our lives – you just have to be willing to kneel down and plant a seed in it and nurture its growth. Be patient and tend to it, perhaps pass it on to someone when you can’t manage it anymore so they can see the success of it.
Here’s the obligatory picture of me with a fish somewhere amazing: