They may share an interest in nature, but there is a fundamental difference between people who see the world’s environmental dilemmas through the single lens of immigration — men like Zuckerman, Tanton and Lamm — and your average Prius driver. Still, it isn’t impossible to understand why these men would want to hold on to a simpler time. In the good old days, well-mannered white males could meet with their counterparts in Washington, D.C., and, damn it all, get a law passed. Now, like the rest of us, they face odds that too often seem insurmountable: a presidential administration that encourages polluting industry to write policy, a corrupt Congress that refuses to pass environmental laws, and a citizenry stunned into inaction by celebrity nipple piercing.
This month, when the Sierra Club ballots filter in, even old white guys with lots of money and clout may discover they can’t turn back the clock. The stiff-necked manners and harshly drawn lines of John Tanton’s conservation movement just don’t mean much anymore. Even the elegant trogon — the bird Tanton was so happy to see — is a migrant that drifts over the border from Mexico.