Caught in the Web
David T. Hoopes
While these may not have been Chief Sealth’s exact words, the message was undoubtedly his. It is with this concept in mind that I offer the following thoughts regarding the steps that must be taken to ensure the continued presence of wild salmon in biologically significant numbers in the year 2100.
Of the four core drivers outlined in Chapter 3, it is, in my opinion, those individual and collective lifestyle choices that form the foundation for making the changes necessary to restore wild salmon populations to culturally and economically sustainable numbers.
Given that the vast majority of people in western North America are so removed from the natural world that sustains them, many remain completely oblivious to the consequences of their actions. Only a fundamental shift in cosmology will promote the changes in behavior necessary to preserve not only salmon but humankind in its entirety. But the challenge of educating future generations about new ways of perceiving their universe is greatly exacerbated by the very fact that there will be from four to eight times as many of us in 2100 as there are today in this region.
Under present circumstances, there is little evidence that the majority of people living within the historical range of Pacific salmon would willingly make the significant personal and collective changes required to promote the return of substantial runs of wild salmon. While many, when asked, profess great concern over the plight of the salmon, the collective lifestyle choices throughout the region have nonetheless resulted in changes that have, in large part, contributed to the precipitous decline in salmon numbers.