Conservation Values

Biological Miracles and Ecological Faith in the Future — Part 2

The Values of Conservation

Jean-Paul Sartre in the Amazon

Sartre’s stunning novel questioned our ability to make meaningful contact with nature, particularly the bark of a tree wherein is writ large the story of cavity nesting birds, not to mention all those other vertebrates and invertebrates that continue to be discovered at places like Yasuni. Most importantly, Sartre, the scientists at Yasuni, E. O. Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt (following upon his days spent in the company of John Muir) and Bromfield all understood that conservation means spirituality; idealistic pragmatism; simplicity; honesty; virtue. Such words have lost much of their staying power in an age where everything is for sale; where life has been devalued in a logarithmic inverse relation to humanity’s runaway population explosion.

PenguinsThe conundrum could not be more serious, Recent polls suggest that among the American public some 60 percent do not take Global Warming seriously, let alone the extinction of tigers, Giant Pandas or penguins. They do not concern themselves with the fact at least 80 percent of all parrots are endangered, or that the United States legally allows for the import of more wild-caught species listed under international treaties (particularly CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) than any other nation. It is not surprising, therefore, that for every 100 American citizens, there are estimated to be 90 guns; that the U.S. National Park Service has recently consented to park visitors carrying (licensed) guns; that poaching is at an all-time high, translating into tens-of-billions of dollars per year and untold millions of animals and plants; that another 250 million animals end up as road-kill annually just within the United States; and that worldwide more than 53 billion vertebrates are slaughtered under unimaginably cruel circumstances every year (and that figure does not include fish).

These data sets do not commend anything like a “happy face” or happy cows, anymore than it would suggest that malnourished children, or oppressed women and their daughters, are happy; that slum-dwellers prefer the slums (a statement we have heard uttered by many in India); or that habitat which is being chewed up by human development at an unimaginably rapid rate is a good thing. Indeed, this all connotes the kind of “insanity” the mother shaman in James Cameron’s film “Avatar” suggests is probably incurable.

Part 1: Is Conservation Achieving It’s Goals?
Part 3: Preserving Sustainable Resources: Dancing Star Foundation Missions


Comments Off

Comments are closed.