The NEC recently conducted an online survey to identify our members’ highest priority issues and programs. This is the third survey the NEC has conducted over the last 10 years in order to assess which conservation issues are of most concern to our members. Seventy-two active members responded to our online poll that included 52 questions on a variety of issues.
The NEC will use the survey results to guide some decisions on issues to follow as well topics for EcoNews and EcoNews Reports.
It comes as little surprise that some of the signature issues the NEC has been active in for decades such as wilderness, watershed protections and wildlife, protections still rank as our highest priorities for current members. The environmental health of our rivers, Humboldt Bay, and all watersheds are also of primary concern. The 2018 survey showed a renewed priority concern for the use of pesticides and herbicides on our lands. Public land use planning to assure protection of open space and livable communities moved up in priority, as did recycling and waste reduction.
Below, in italics, are a few examples of what the NEC members had to say in their written comments:
A third of individual comments pointed to climate change as their number one concern: “All other victories will be erased without confronting this issue [climate change.]” “It [climate change] points the finger squarely at the perpetrators: fossil fuels, capitalism, and our collective need to revamp human living and energy systems.” “There is no planet B.”
Wilderness and Old-Growth Protection: “We need to “monitor the protection of old growth redwood and general old growth forests…we need to be a watchdog on decisions…” “Protection of roadless areas with wilderness status.”
Watershed / Humboldt Bay Protections: “Water is Life. It cannot become a capitalist commodity.” “You have little effect on the national and global issues but on local issues you have real leadership and expertise opportunities.”
Endangered Species and Habitat Protection: “Animal habitat is decreasing, poisoning destruction – we share the world with them!”
Salmon / Salmon Habitat Protection: “Land and water sue that causes reductions in salmon and steelhead populations.” “Salmon protection through river restoration, protection and clean-up.”
Forest Management: “Deforestation and poor logging practices concern me the most. Removing trees has far-reaching impacts as does building logging roads and spraying herbicides… Not against small-scale thoughtful logging practices but I am concerned that most timber companies are not particularly environmentally conscious…”
Pesticide / Herbicide Use: “Pest/ Herbicides getting into our soils & waterways, because toxins affect the entire web of life…”
Federal Environmental Regulations: “Trump administration rollback of environmental regs.” “Assault on public lands by Trump Administration including rollback of CA clean air rules.”
Recycling and Waste Reduction: “Recycling lately as it is getting harder to find buyers for recycled materials. We need to have a reliable source for plastics and other waste stream items…including changing the packaging concepts in this country.”
Public Land Use and Transit Planning: “Land Use planning to consolidate development and protected open spaces and working landscapes such as timberlands and agriculture.” “Transit service needs to be radically increased.”
Effects of Cannabis Cultivation: “Black market and legal marijuana growers. The effect both of them have on water diversions and its effects on fisheries and river ecosystems.” “Clean-up of illegal grows. I’m afraid our Board of Supervisors isn’t making it a top priority.”
Overpopulation: “Too many people!”
Environmental Education: “Educating people about the essential protection of our fragile earth, always beginning with where we live now.”