Peacock’s Tale

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy photo

Conservationist Doug Peacock has covered a lot of miles in his efforts to save wild spaces and wild creatures.

Peacock recounts a lot of these journeys in his new book, Was It Worth It? A Wilderness Warrior’s Long Trail Home. Within its pages, he recalls his retreat to the Yellowstone wilderness to live with grizzlies while he was recovering from PTSD after his service in Vietnam. He talks about his time in Tucson, exploring the Cabeza Prieta and Mexico’s Sierra Madre range. He travels to the High Arctic, Siberia, the Galapagos Islands and elsewhere, bringing the reader along for a view many will never have a chance to experience.

He also dedicates a chapter to why, although he’s a gun owner and a hunter, he hates trophy hunting, the NRA and Safari Club International. “These are assholes, like Trump’s son holding the elephant’s tail,” he says. “Safari Club International has just slopped over into this hate for wild animals, especially predators.”

In this week’s excerpt from the book, Peacock remembers how he decided to carry out his friend Ed Abbey’s last wishes for a party following his death. Peacock decided to serve “slow elk,” but his method of acquiring that beef was a bit unorthodox, although Abbey would have surely approved.

These days, Peacock is living up in Montana, near Yellowstone National Park, and he’s still fighting to save the grizzlies.

Peacock concludes, at the end of the book, that his conservation efforts were indeed worth it. But he predicts a grim future for humanity if people don’t take steps to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change. Between the fires in the Amazon, the Arctic, ongoing droughts, the melting of the ice sheets, the thawing of the permafrost and so many other developing catastrophes, a reckoning is coming a lot sooner than people realize.

“The biggest, biggest lies in the media are when people say, ‘Well, at the end of the century, something might bad might happen.’ That’s bullshit,” he says. “I think by 2025, we’re going to be able to look in that grim darkening crystal ball and see our nightmare is on the walls of the cave, flickering in the fire. … If you love life and you love beauty and you value your children and their generations, it’s a great tragedy.”

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