Sportsmen, sportswomen, and wildlife conservationists are not couch potatoes. We get outside. The ones that are as old as I am have seen many, many years of change. When you spend your time outdoors it’s easy to see the impacts of climate change on the natural world.
As a dedicated trout angler I have observed trout streams warming, streams that are marginally cold enough to sustain trout are warming to a point that they will not sustain trout in the future. Scientists predict that a very small temperature rise will dramatically reduce the range of southern Appalachian brook trout, North Carolina’s only native freshwater trout.
As an avid duck hunter I’ve tracked duck migrations for 40 years. We hunt local wood ducks during the early part of the season. Then a glorious thing typically happens, the big migratory birds come in from up north. Last year they didn’t come. It was “the season that wasn’t.”
Conservative estimates of sea-level rise on the coast of eastern North Carolina show that we are going to lose 1500 square miles of prime estuarine habitat. This is incredible wildlife habitat and it also supports robust seafood nursery habitat and migratory bird habitat.
2.25 million North Carolinians hunt and fish and watch wildlife. We spend 2.6 billion dollars a year and we create 46,000 jobs. What’s good for sportsmen is good for North Carolina. Additionally, outdoor recreation related tourism is a major economic driver in the state. This business relies on robust natural resources base to attract visitors.
I have been blessed with three granddaughters and I want them to be able to experience wild North Carolina like I have. I want them to know the holiness of these special places and sacred pursuits.
Addressing climate change as a moral imperative resonates deeply to my core. The value of NCIPL’s mission is one that all sportsmen, sportswomen, and wildlife conservationists must appreciate. I believe outdoor enthusiasts must partner with people of faith in leading the charge to activate our communities and educate our decision makers. Future generations of all species are calling upon us to protect what we love most, so they can experience the magic of life too.
I hope you will join me in supporting NC Interfaith Power & Light’s great work.
A tax-deductible donation today will help create a future of tomorrows.
Now Go Get Outside!
Richard Mode has served as a Trout Unlimited volunteer leader in positions from local chapter President through National President and Chairman of the Board. He currently serves as the NC Wildlife Federation Affiliate Representative and National Wildlife Federation Sportsmen Outreach Coordinator. He has received all three organization’s most prestige awards. In 2007 Budweiser and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation named Richard “Conservationist of the Year.” He lives in Morganton, NC.