The unfortunate truth of the matter (universally subjective, but I believe shared sentiment by many) is that every single inch we give is an inch we will not gain back. Ever. See Lows Lake in NY.The second we stop flying into lakes possibly infested, this will be taken as an admission of guilt. The steps are the same in almost every case. (1) Common sense departs (2) Bias takes over (3) Lack of individual involvement; followed by (4) Lack of association involvement; followed by (5) Too little done, too late, leading to (6) Inability to gather enough support to have a voice. Our enemies have figured out that we are unorganized and naive in our defense and slowly beginning to use that against us. Nowadays advocacy related subjects are better guarded than President Obama's email password. By the time things leak out it is literally impossible to mount any sort of meaningful action. Most of those not affected by (location or simple ignorance) advocacy topics will not act, write letters or attend hearings.
A good example of ignorance is the recent case of a pilot in NZ, facing possible jail time and punishment for conducting a rescue flight (takeover in flight) despite having some sort of medical certificate action pending against him. This guy flew and broke the regs to save a life, successfully. When I posted the link to the petition elsewhere, complete paranoia broke out. "There's gotta be more to it!"
. Whats happening is stunning even to someone who's studied psychology in college and has tried to find out why people are such schmucks, for some 15 years.
People are "withholding
" their voice, even though their voice is doing only one thing: "Ask a government entity to use common sense and look into a certain case again." Apparently, the petition is of no direct benefit to any single pilot, it is additionally regarding a pilot in a foreign land. This is all about standing up and sending a clearly audible message to those who are about to punish another one of us. The petition fortunately gains its support by itself, but results could be much better if more people took the time to imagine being in such a position themselves. Here we are preaching "strength in numbers", but some peeps have to have it their way. "My vote matters to someone, so lets see what that someone will give me in return." Empathy is a foreign concept.
The important thing (again) is to realize that the smallest fraction of seaplane pilots is organized in any meaningful way. Having a nice association with a few thousand members and a mediocre revenue sheet looks awesome on paper, and so do the famous people sitting in all kinds of chairs, but there are reasons that so many skip the political clout of the associations. While many of the seaplane fraternity do
belong to COPA or AOPA, or maybe EAA, the dock is missed often when trying to gather the attention of such big groups for small-time seaplane ops. Its just not on their radar.
From my last ~ 6 years of running this site, I have learned the following:
- Advocacy related topics are often skipped and experience less "popularity" than others.
- Advocacy groups do not communicate, do not reach out and do not collaborate, on any matter, by default.
- Pilots do not deem it worth their time and effort to send letters, unless the material is prechewed and requires just one mouse-click.
- Communication of advocacy topics is actively stifled and avoided - so is deeper analysis of invasive species.
- The aviation media is looking for hammer headlines, it is collectively falling short of its responsibility to inform peeps.
- The general media is biased, often bases articles on hearsay and guess work and it almost never corrects factual mistakes.
- The public cannot tell a seaplane from the hole on the rear-end of a pig. Nothing is done to change that.
KlausNW often refers to people sticking their head in the sand in an effort not to see what's really going on.
The issue with invasive species isn't new, it is just one that allows some sort of pro-activity on our side to help or "do our part" as good as we can. A path to demonstrate that seaplane pilots are equally interested in pristine and natural environments, which is something our Canadian friends have figured out a bit better than us. I do still doubt that any of those measures bring resolve to the issue - but I go by what my grandmother said: "If it makes people feel better, why not...".
With all the corruption and minds set in stone within many of the environmentally active groups, all this may not do much, but with those who make decisions under application of some
common sense, it may. The way we work our advocacy issues is changing, within a few years many of today's concepts and ideas will no longer work. Industry fragmentation will do damage beyond our imagination. Our industry has been arrogant and ignorant to challenges, deaf to thousands of ideas and stonewalling against anyone and anything that has ever challenged the status quo.
I hope your research and information gathering is successful. I have yet to find a marine biologist with a seaplane rating, willing to take this bull by the horns and to disclose some of the bullshit the media often reports about seaplanes and invasive species, as what it is.