I, Animals - Wildlife Conservation

What really, is the point of saving endangered species, one might ask? Species, after all, do come and go. There will be new species that arise to take the place of those that fade away. The resources and effort to try and stave off extinction due to ecosystem degradation could well be used in other places. Some people would favour the resources be directed to furthering the human species and establishing the long term survival of humankind, and that conservation of species should be justified only if they add something unique to human civilisation or experience of the world (to paraphrase).

Firstly, a note about conservation. Conservation is not generally a matter of trying to reverse a natural extinction, it is about trying to counteract the damage wrought by human activity.And it is not all human activity, but instead it arises from unsustainable, short term approaches to economic development, which are frequently self-defeating.

Personally, I believe conservation efforts are of monumental importance.

Underpinning this is idea that looking at the "environment" as a big singular object that is there to be utilised or to be protected is nonsense.

Instead, humans are biological organisms, no matter how much we pride ourselves on technology. We are fundamentally intertwined with the vast and barely comprehensible network of the meteorological, biological and geological processes that constitute the sum of planetary activity.

We like to think that we have mastered the basics - control of our water supply, our food, our shelter, our energy needs. This is pure fallacy. In fact, the most efficient and self sustaining system for producing the necessary conditions for life is already with us - Planet Earth. Maybe one day we will improve upon it, but our current understanding is far too crude, and will no doubt be insufficient for many decades, if not centuries to come.

So what, you might ask? It follows then, that even if it were possible to surpass the Earth's ability to sustain us, instead of merely *enhancing* it (which is what all of our current technologies do), then without the conservation movement to slow the rampant pace of planetary system damage, we would simply run out of time. That is to say, - the planetary system would cease to support us before we could support ourselves.

Still, this is hardly the strongest argument for conservation. It is barely stronger than the argument that *all* life holds potential biotechnology applications and species loss deprives us of those.

Stronger than this is the idea of intergenerational equity. We have enjoyed the world as it is, but what of future generations? Our destruction of habitat and species is largely out of carelessness, and is not an automatic byproduct of "progress" or "economic growth". It is merely the automatic by-product of sloppy, careless, poor business and development practice.

There is also the moral imperative. We are active agents of destruction.  Conservation is the moral imperative to be a positive agent, and not to needlessly and carelessly destroy something.

Conservation, also provides an access point for modern humans to understand the natural world, and come to an understanding of human impact and the consequences of our actions. It is the figurehead for part of the collective wisdom of humankind that we seem to forget in our arrogance - we are part of the world, intimately connected and we disrespect this at our peril.

I think the most fundamental question relates to human species identity.

Who are we, who is homo sapiens? And how do we relate to other life? Do we view it purely as a resource to be exploited, as having no intrinsic value in its own right. What right then, should we have to expect that a more advanced species would treat us with respect? Would a just observor species view human actions as malevolent and a scourge upon life, and thus be justified in trying to wipe out humanity to save the rest of the planet?

What sort of species do we *want* to be? We do not even meet our own requirements for a decent teenager - we can not care for those within our own planetary household, instead we take what we want, throw the garbage on the floor, and refuse to do any sort of budgeting, whilst gradually wrecking the place.

Life loves life. Baby animals are not just appealing to humans, they appeal to all species that have nurturing instincts.

A mature species can not be a force against life. Conservation is the very tip of what needs to be done to find our way forward.
TheTardyDodo TheTardyDodo
31-35, M
8 Responses Jul 17, 2007

If mankind would cease fighting these "religious wars" about whose supreme being is the best and concentrate on living in harmony with mother Earth and control the idiotic birth explosion in countries who cant even support them selves. Then we might turn the corner. Until then we are destined to run her into the ground to the point where we join the dino's and other extint species..

"tsk tsk tsk" i say to society as a whole for demanding this 'better, easier, more convenient' way of life that is destroying the lives of those very people who demand it! i.e., electrical plants - the smoke stacks emit horrible pollutants, pollutants that cause asthma, allergies, etc. obviously there are a multitude of examples far worse than this. in summation, it's our greed, our laziness, etc. it's the human race at the root of their/our own demise. it's truly SAD...

We live in times of biblical proportions. Man has always had the power to live harmoniously with nature. But never before have we actually had the power to render our planet uninhabitable. In years to come the oil shortage will be nostalgia, the new currency we will fight and die for will be drinking water. Think of humanity as a particularly insidious computer virus, growing exponentially, destroying everything in its path. You are right, Siddler, in any cataclysm there would be survivors, but as the old saying goes, "the living would envy the dead."

Thanks for ya thoughts Dodo, Created new story in same experince as response.

Well, I gotta disagree with Lagarto. Even in the worst case scenario of environmental destruction, all would not be destroyed, some things would live on, it would be likely that some humans would survive too but only a small fraction of the existing population. I am with the Dodo in his argument, I appreciated the point about how our environment isn't some singular ob<x>ject to protect but is the only place we have. The word environment has lost it's original meaning in many people's minds and refers to something political rather than our living space. I think there will inevitably be suffering due to environmental degradation (people are already suffering, losing their homelands, in the far north and south), it's a matter of to what degree and that depends on what we do globally to change.

hahaha - thank you for bringing to my attention the aptness of my avatar in authorship! the point you make about technology is a good one, and i have been despairing of it till late - however I have recently discovered the fact that people are actually doing something about that - upcycling! Not the basic version, but the really cutting edge stuff. But yes, technology is the lever on which we pivot our actions - for the vast majority of this, it is with destruction and waste as its outcome. Welcome to Dodo land!

For millennia, Man viewed his environment as hostile, something to be subdued. As he grew to have some mastery over it, he came to regard his environment as a self-stocking 7-11 that was open all night. Sadly, man's success has also been his downfall, just ask any polar bear looking for a nice ice flow. There has never been a time when technology "enhanced" our environment, today it is actually well on the way to destroying the whole thing. Polar Bears are good "poster children," but in fact - worrying about any one animal is pointless - we're all going down - or should I say, the way of the dodo.

Don't try to conserve wildlife WAAAY bigger than yourself! Just ask the cavemen that became mid noon snacks to dinos, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers! =} j/king!