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Part: IV WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LEG... > CANARIES IN THE COAL MINE

Chapter 14. CANARIES IN THE COAL MINE

For hundreds of years, before sensitive monitoring devices were invented, miners descended into the earth to dig up treasures and ores. Deep beneath the surface of the earth lay dangers, not the least of which being no air or noxious gases. Some genius miner realized that small birds were more sensitive to air quality than people, and so miners started carrying small caged birds into the mines with them. If the canary keeled over—well, it wasn't good.

Advocacy organizations are our canaries, our social canaries. Because of their special interest in a topic, they are especially sensitive to how changes in law, regulation, or even custom can affect that issue. Luckily, they sing out instead of keeling over if they perceive danger. Some are considered politically left. Others are considered politically right. They are usually non-profit and have staff members who are subject matter experts, legal experts, public relations experts, or all of the above. They are supported by people and institutions who agree with them and they work to bring their message to all via the media, conferences, and venues like congressional hearings.


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