Monday, February 1, 2016

Blind Men and the Elephant of Conservation

Blind Men and the Elephant of Conservation: Toward Ideological Diversity

By Tovar Cerulli, 2015 Mi Casita Writer-in-Residence
As conservationists, we take it for granted that diversity is good. Biological diversity, at least.
We know that diverse, intact ecosystems are adaptable and resilient, benefiting not only us but all members of what Leopold called “the land community.” We take it on faith that all community members should be respected and that they have, as he put it, an inherent “right to continued existence.”
When I walk down to the beaver pond near home and look out at the water and surrounding land, I know that each plant, fungus, insect, amphibian, reptile, fish, bird, and mammal—even each unseen microbe in the soil—is part of that community, part of a larger, dynamic, evolving organism. As such, each deserves my respect: pine and alder, mayfly and jewelwing, salamander and turtle, minnow and trout, heron and mallard, mouse and coyote.
A snapping turtle lays its eggs near the Leopold Center.
Concerning ideological and cultural diversity, we are ambivalent at best.