The wildlife trade receives a lot of coverage and has gained more priority and has been moving up on the National agenda. All of the articles that give the public information regarding the issue can aid and influence people to pay attention to the issue and make changes in order to help the cause. News articles can create symbols for the environment that construct a certain view for an issue that can persuade people to follow. The more news coverage there is regarding the issue the more credibility it will receive and the more information that is implemented into the public sphere will construct a socially accepted view that the Wildlife trade needs to stop to conserve the world’s natural resources and cultural values.
There has been a lot of news coverage on the issue for a while because it is progressively getting worse day by day. Wildlife trade is a global issue and it is recognized on a National level. According to an article on National Geographic daily news called United States Tightens the Noose on The Ivory Trade the United States has implemented new restrictions on the ivory trade, which creates a near ban on the commercial sale of African ivory. The ruling was announced by the Obama administration in February 2014. The ban of commercial ivory sale and imports are also being heavily regulated. “In past years big game hunters used loopholes in the U.S. and African laws to bring back large numbers of culled elephant heads, including ivory” (National Geographic). They are now restricted to only importing two heads a year. These various rules were implemented to eliminate several existing forms of trade.
This article gives an example of how the issue is being covered globally. It explains that the U.S. is involved and is taking action to minimize the import and sale of illegal ivory. This was written by an American author who has probably never been to Africa or seen ivory being sold, he has very little proximity to the issue but he keeps the coverage local for an American audience so they can tap into what he has to say and apply it to their daily lives. He also writes it to draw in a foreign audience as well so they can understand what the United States is doing. A national geographic journalist bringing this issue to attention broadens the public sphere on the problem and it gains credibility towards the national agenda.
“In November 2013 the United States conducted an Ivory Crush in which they crushed six tons of ivory in order to start the global push to stop the illegal trade of ivory” (National Geographic). According to the national geographic article the ivory was crushed as a symbolic act. “It has no impact on the international trade without additional action” (National Geographic). They destroyed it to try and get other nations to follow in their footsteps and try and further the progress of the issue. “In 1989 Kenya destroyed their ivory, then voted for an ivory ban. Today more countries are starting to destroy their stocks to aid the issue. “Tying action to symbolism is critical if change is to occur” (National Geographic).
The author constructs the environment in this article by creating a symbol, which is the destroying of ivory stocks and it has an influence on the audience to make decisions that can help stop the illegal ivory trade. The illegal trade reflects in Robert Cox’s book when he describes that the “environment belongs to us when we used to belong to the environment” (Robert Cox, 60). This statement describes the issue on a global level because there are a lot of people who participate in the trade all over the world and the good is acquired through killing elephants and rhinos which are an important part of the ecosystem and to many people’s cultures. It shows how humans can exploit the environment and the negative effects it can have on a local and National level. It constructs the public’s view of the environment through language and information.
Another issue with the wildlife trade is the lack of enforcement in some areas where the market for Ivory is high. Asia has the biggest market for ivory trade. An article written by Andrew Jacobs for the New York times called Border City On The Edge of Law states that a city called Mong La, Myanmar “provides a smuggling route into a rebel-run jungle outpost just over the Chinese border that begins on the back of a motorcycle that takes passengers on a route that skips past the official border crossing and ends at an outdoor market which wildlife trade is very high” (Andrew Jacobs). “The ride costs $14 without including the cost of paying off the Burmese insurgents that regulate the area” (Andrew Jacobs). Many people come here to buy and sell exotic goods illegally. This shows how these markets can survive in areas that aren’t heavily regulated. Many people go to Mong La strictly for self-indulgence rather than travelling there to see the many sights the city has to offer. People travel there and they can get to these markets and successfully transport items out of the city and back home with them.
The author who wrote this article is a journalist for the New York Times that is currently stationed in Beijing so this issue is familiar to him since he lives and experiences the personal affects the trade has on the surrounding communities. This article supports the fact that wildlife trade is an important issue that has a high priority on the national agenda. It gives the issue a global view because an American journalist can write an article describing a small market just beyond the border of China in a small mountain town and gain an audience. The issue is happening all over the world and this one market generates a healthy portion of revenue generated from the illicit business. He portrays one of the primary issues with the trade, which is the lack of enforcement. When the public sphere understands that these markets are healthy in a number of regions and they are big contributors to the problem it can influence their views and maybe even convince them to become an advocate of the issue and try to persuade people to follow and make a difference.