Bull and cow elk running across a field
Bull and cow elk running across a field
Photo by Christian Yonkers

“If we’re going to maintain the system, we have to have robust participation beyond 55-year-old white guys.”

Hunters and anglers reversed the march of extinction at the turn of the last century. Species and wild places now face a similar menu of threats, from hors d’oeuvres of minor calamities to entrees of systemic collapse. Hunters and anglers matter now more than ever and are an essential ingredient to preserving the ongoing conservation legacy of the United States into the 21st century and beyond.

The roots of conservation

It’s difficult to imagine the dire straits plants and animals faced one hundred years ago. At the…

Ice on the Lake Michigan shoreline
Ice on the Lake Michigan shoreline
Frozen shores of Lake Michigan, Upper Peninsula. Photo by Christian Yonkers.

I believe in stories. They enrapture the mind and shorten chasms of otherness. They offer vulnerable insight into the teller’s humanity and remind the listener that they share the same human family.

Humans have long engaged challenging issues with story. Storytelling is the process of coming to terms with life, crafting a narrative of control over the inevitability of despair.

Climate change is humanity’s most epic storytelling fail. Besides a few bizarre and questionably helpful genres (solarpunk and cli-fi), storytelling has failed to capture humanity’s collective hearts and minds for immediate climate change engagement.

There’s a place for damning facts…

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

A way of life will only stand if defensible to the public.

Since our nation’s inception, the right to bear arms has been generally accepted and defended by the populace-at-large: Self-defense, speaking truth to power, sustenance. Recently, the public has questioned the extent of the 2nd Amendment, particularly regarding what have been called assault rifles.

The following isn’t meant to convince those opposed to the average citizen’s right to own an AR-15. However, before I proceed, I must lay some context …

Melania Trump and President Trump remain onstage as Joe Biden leaves at the closing of the last presidential debate.
Melania Trump and President Trump remain onstage as Joe Biden leaves at the closing of the last presidential debate.
First lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump remain onstage as Joe Biden exits at the close of the last presidential debate 10/22/2020. Photo by AP News/Julio Cortez.

I love my guns, and I’m pro-life. But a second Trump term is untenable. Here are my reasons why …

“You have to be willing to risk mistakes, delays, and disappointments, or you will be at the mercy of only the tried and true, to your ultimate peril.” — Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac in The Future We Choose

For the first time ever, I (almost) voted straight-ticket Democrat. That might not be a pivotal shift for some, but considering my generally unwavering independent stance, voting nearly straight Democrat is a fundamental shift.

I’ve made peace with this: The 2020 election is one of the most critical exercises of American democracy in history; a fight for the country’s soul, the…

Trump announces an expanded ban on offshore oil drilling in Florida, Sept. 8. Photo courtesy of Global News Archive.

Fact check: Trump is no environmentalist

Full disclosure: This fact check against Trump’s recent environmental boasting isn’t objective journalism. And I don’t think it has to be: The press and free-thinking people everywhere have thoroughly scrutinized the transgressions I’m about to spew about our 45th President.

So I feel OK providing my opinion on his latest environmental farce with the harshest of cynicism, the slightest degree of satire, and fuming frustration.

Here we go.

Rocky Mountain National Park, near Nymph Lake. Photo by Christian Yonkers

Most of us have the best of intentions to remediate the ecological trifecta of climate change, deforestation, and the general malaise of ecological degradation. But our conceptions of conservation and its marketed solutions are largely and dangerously infatuated with the scenic and the sexy.

Our settled urban and agricultural areas are left out of the mainstream conservation zeitgeist. The distilled narrative goes something like this: “Places with people have gone to hell. Let’s save the little bit of heaven on earth while we can.”

We vacation to beautiful places and scroll through endless images of mountainscapes and beach scenery. These…

Work boot stepping on article about climate change.
Work boot stepping on article about climate change.
Photo by Christian Yonkers

To survive climate change, we must find commonality with its skeptics, specifically, conservatives.

The climate movement is a brand that tailors to a very particular demographic. It’s peddling consumer content targeted at liberal audiences, and in doing so, it has left out massive swaths of would-be supporters.

The climate movement’s branding is shooting itself in the foot.

Branding climate change accessorizes a global emergency. Brands are no longer ancillary supports of identity; they form the bedrock of who we are. Millennials in particular are relying on brands to “reduce discrepancies between their actual and ideal self.” Branding makes it easier to reify internal values, build connections, and bolster self-esteem.

The climate crisis is…

Photo by Christian Yonkers

The coronavirus has really messed up my sense of place. Chiefly being, it’s shown me I have no sense of place at all. Not until last week.

Doing my duty to flatten the curve has been tough. I’m a journalist, photographer, and adrenaline junkie. Naturally, anything that urges me to “stay home, stay safe” elicits a visceral “Ummm, no.” Nonetheless, my butt has been staying in place (sorry, world, you’re being dispossessed of my Pulitzer-worthy content for a short time). …

Photo by ShareGrid on Unsplash

A mundane video edit just vomited a profound revelation.

I was recently hired to film educational videos. I made two sub-rookie mistakes: One, I let the *&$@ing camera run for 15 minutes. Fif. Teen. Minutes. And two; I failed to afford the client I interviewed the magnanimous blessing of — wait for it — a script. (How dare she struggle to perform, I tell you).

Yeah. The cinematic genius of it all.

Ahem. I digress. May the Wolf of Hollywood have the stage, please?

My poor client stumbled as I prodded her to “fly off the cuff” in order to…

Fletcher Christian and the mutineers sent Lieutenant William Bligh and 18 others adrift; 1790 painting by Robert Dodd.
Fletcher Christian and the mutineers sent Lieutenant William Bligh and 18 others adrift; 1790 painting by Robert Dodd.
Robert Dodd’s 1790 depiction of the mutiny aboard the HMS Bounty. National Maritime Museum. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

I attempt to stay apolitical with my meanderings. I try (and often fail) to maintain a semblance of coolness and objectivity. But I must deviate from that path today because our president has taken his megalomania to a whole new level.

With the absence of strong federal leadership, governors of the most hard-hit states have issued executive orders to protect their citizens. In my own state of Michigan, Gov. Whitmer enacted strict stay-home orders. Her actions and outspoken criticism of Trump has earned her the title “that woman from Michigan.” …

Christian Wayne Yonkers

A Michigan-based journalist and photographer creating content for environmental and social change.

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