Chad Love: Hunting and the Environmental Media Association

Environmental awareness and sustainability are concepts the entertainment industry prides itself on promoting through movies, television and the publicity-driven gestures of self-absorbed celebrities. In this rarified A-list world, hunters, hunting, and hunting culture are almost never portrayed as ecologically important or environmentally sustainable. Instead, you get designer clothing lines spun from the silk of liberated, free-range worms. It's no wonder the vast majority of Idiot America doesn't equate hunting with environmentalism.

But maybe your average mindless consumer who thinks he's saving the planet with his solar-powered espresso machine thinks that way because there are organizations within the entertainment industry that make him think that way.

Organizations like this one.

The Environmental Media Association _believes that through television, film and music, the entertainment community has the power to influence the environmental awareness of millions of people. This initial concept set the stage for our 1989 launch and it remains a core EMA tenant today.
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EMA mobilizes the entertainment industry in educating people about environmental issues, which in turn, inspires them to take action. A pioneer in linking the power of celebrity to environmental awareness, it was EMA who invented the 'green carpet,' launching the concept of taking a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle - not a limo - to high profile awards events and bringing the concept of alternative automotive technology to millions of previously unaware households.

Basically, the EMA is an industry group that encourages environmental messages in movie and television plotlines. It's garden-variety product placement, but instead of stars conspicuously drinking a certain beverage or driving a certain car, they're battling eco-baddies or monologuing about the dangers of CFCs.

Here's my question. Why shouldn't the EMA start helping us hunters get a little more respect for what we do to help the planet?

I know, I know: I can hear your response now "Hell will freeze over before the entertainment industry ever gives us a fair shake." But take a look at some the groups on the EMA's advisory board. Yes, there are the usual suspects, but there are also groups that, while not hunter-based, at least live on the same planet. The Nature Conservancy. The Sierra Club. The Wilderness Society. The National Audubon Society.

If those groups can participate in how environmental issues are portrayed in the media, hunter and angler-based groups should participate too. Trout Unlimited. Ducks Unlimited. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. All these and more deserve a seat at that table and if I worked at any of them I'd be calling up the EMA and asking for it.

A hopeless task? Maybe, but no one said changing perceptions and attitudes would be easy. Rather than griping about it, we need to take a page from their playbook and do something about it.