Wildlife Committee Resolution


1. We are in the midst of a worldwide extinction crisis. According to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources), one fourth of all of the world's animals are threatened with extinction.

2. This is primarily due to loss of habitat, but also partly due to the introduction of exotic species. Loss of habitat needn't be total destruction, but can also be simply too much human presence.

3. Recent research has shown that the mere presence of humans, and hence any type of recreation, can be harmful or even deadly to wildlife. Also, people often carry exotic species into areas where they have never existed, often causing great peril for local species.

4. It is obviously necessary to experience wilderness in order to understand and appreciate it, but too much human presence inevitably denatures that wilderness and makes it unsuitable as habitat to many species.

5. Technology which opens up new areas of habitat (e.g. rafts, climbing gear, or mountain bikes), or new time periods (e.g. cross-country skis or night-vision goggles), greatly decrease spatial and temporal refuges for wildlife.

6. Access to wilderness can create a desire to protect it, but can just as easily initiate a desire to exploit it. Wilderness recreation can teach people to love wildlife, but it can also teach (mislead) them (nonverbally) that such recreation is not harmful to wildlife. It is a 2-edged sword.

7. Wildlife invariably prefer (and, therefore, need) that we leave them alone. In particular, they can not distinguish biologists from recreationists.

8. Wildlife have as much right not to be molested in their homes as we do.

9. The Sierra Club is often accused of wanting to protect wilderness so its members can recreate there (i.e., for selfish reasons). To the extent that this is true, it hurts the conservation cause. A focus on protecting wildlife for its own sake, in the long run, is safer and has more chance of uniting all of mankind in a campaign to save our remaining species.

Now therefore be it resolved:

1. That the Sierra Club actively oppose the use of technology (e.g. 4-wheel-drive vehicles, mountain bikes, night-vision goggles, climbing equipment, etc.) to make wildlife habitat more accessible.

2. That the Sierra Club stop actively promoting wilderness access and wilderness recreation.

3. That the Sierra Club begin actively promoting the setting aside of some habitat areas that are off-limits to all humans ("pure" habitat), preferably connected to each other by wildlife corridors that are also inviolable, and surrounded by "buffer" areas where only minimal human access and use is allowed.