Collar_2003_Biodiversity_Freedom_of_Mind

Collar_2003_Biodiversity_Freedom_of_Mind - Global Ecology...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
ECOLOGICAL SOUNDING © 2003 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Global Ecology & Biogeography (2003) 12 , 265–269 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Beyond value: biodiversity and the freedom of the mind N. J. COLLAR Conservation Biology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ and BirdLife Interna- tional, Wellbrook Court, Girton Road, Cambridge CB3 0NA, U.K. E-mail: [email protected] ABSTRACT Circumstances have conspired to render the conservation movement curiously diffident in the expression of the fundamental beliefs that underpin it. ‘Oppositional’ activists assume their case as proven, while ‘institutional’ tacticians tend to adopt the point of view of those they oppose, deploying utilitarian/economic arguments. The latter arguments represent an unstable long-term option because they are an inadequate defence against compelling forces of corrosion and corruption. On present evidence, in a few hundred years the planet will be devoid of major natural areas, and the quality of human life will have been utterly compro- mised. A more honest admission that the natural world is an inalienable component of the human capacity to experience freedom (which is also a mental circumstance) would transform the way we treat the natural environment and hence the prospects for the long-term survival of biological diversity. Key words Conservation justifications, freedom, nature, values. Charities and agencies devoted to good works generally have little need of justifying themselves to the larger public, whose interests and concerns they broadly reflect, and in many cases wildlife conservation is accepted and understood without hesitation for providing an important service to mankind. Conservationists themselves are widely perceived as benign and generous people, committing their careers to a regime of low pay, long hours, high stress and worthy — even if, in some estimations, essentially lost — causes. By and large they are liked for their endeavours and their public-spiritedness. Nevertheless, their status is somewhat ambiguous. Eccen- tric career choices predicate eccentric careerists, and the conservationist spectrum, with its broad green centre flanked by an indelible deep blue and a volatile bright red, forms a coalition of types that are peculiarly vulnerable to caricature. Moreover, though the conservation cause be estimable, it is not generally to be ranked alongside the greater immediate struggles for human health, wealth and rights (struggles that are better expressed in the negative — against disease, poverty and political repression). Conservation is oddly disadvant- aged because the benefits it brings to mankind are seemingly so much more oblique and less tangible than the benefits that flow from what it so frequently seeks (or seems) to oppose.
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern