Saturday, November 21, 2009

The People Conservancy

I don't usually read Outside magazine--it manages to achieve the unlikely combination of being both too macho and too glitzy for my taste. But I had some time to fill at the library a few days ago and noticed this article about some nature/wildlife groups becoming more people focused.

I was particularly disgusted by the comments of The Nature Conservancy's Peter Kareiva at the end of the article.

For Kareiva, that's what it comes down to: a matter of rights. "For me at least," he wrote on TNC's blog this spring, "the rights of people for self-determination take supremacy over any species or biodiversity tally." When I asked him about that, he brought up a riddle, an impossible dilemma first posed by conservation biologist Michael Soulé.

"You're down to one snow leopard, and that leopard is a pregnant mom," Kareiva said. "And if she lives and has a litter of four or five, you could maybe recover the whole species. And you're up on a ridge and she's creeping up and about to kill and eat a small two-year-old child. You have a gun, and you have a choice: You can either kill the leopard and save the child's life, or you can sit by and watch the leopard kill it. That's your only choice. I would save the child."

Put me with Watson, Abbey, Muir, Jeffers, and all who've chosen to belong to something bigger than their own species. Kareiva's values and choice demonstrate the exact cause of the problems these groups supposedly existed to fight against. As long as people consider themselves superior to and distinct from all other life, as long as one human is considered more important than an entire species, there is no hope.


Allan Stellar said...

Oh, this is alway the trap the Homo Sapienphiles love to set for the those who love nature.

I agree with you...but I'm sure the Nature Conservancy guy doesn't want donations to dry up because of some Malthusian dilemma. By the way, the salaries of the Gang Green CEO's can be quite excessive. I'm sure the Nature Conservancy Prez doesn't want to see that dry up too!

As always, I enjoy your perspective and am glad you are writing when you can!


Ruahines said...

Kia ora,
Interesting article. I must admit the riddle posed by Soule is much much harder for me to answer when I change the words, "a child", to "my child".

Andrea said...

Good point Robb and one my friends like to remind me of when I go on my all-species-are-important rampage. I don't have an answer to that, but in my heart feel disgusted by our lack of consideration for other species and the loss of so many PER DAY. However the test is the thing...and I have yet to be truly tested to see if my heart is true or just kidding me.

Allan Stellar said...

Mightn't it be better just to keep your child close to you when out in wild areas? We have mountain lion who roam our property. Our rule is that the little ones must be near us at sunset...

And the kids know when mountain lion time is... Of course, there hasn't been a mountain lion attack on a child in California since the 1890's. So much hysteria over nothing...



greentangle said...

I doubt anyone would let their own child be killed (though of course there are those who kill their children themselves). And even considering your own species most important is fairly natural, but it's become a fatal natural instinct under present conditions. Too many people and no one willing to make the hard decisions which are much easier than the one in this post.

Northland said...

Interesting post! The Outside article is also interesting and sad - what a stupid question to pose with an asinine choice - the last of a species attacking a child and you can kill the last leopard or stand by and perhaps save a species... Talk about anthropocentrism
gone to extremes!

Good that you are still able to continue writing and posting.

william said...

Interesting post. My question to the Nature Conservancy representative is why did we humans allow the snow leopard species to get down to one individual in the first place? Do we not know that the loss of one single species can change ecoligcal history?

This gentleman is obviously not a towering intellectual. Such a silly statement. Now I have to question my past support of this organization.