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Posts Tagged ‘Cafaora’

Kareiva Responds on Human Needs and The Tide of Extinctions

Posted by Richard Conniff on February 17, 2014

The Nature Conservancy’s Peter Kareiva and [UPDATE] Philip Cafaro have sent helpful responses to my recent article “Is Focusing On Human Needs Like Saying ‘Yes’ To Extinctions”  I’m putting it up as a separate post because it deserves more attention than it might get as a comment to the previous article.  First, here’s what I wrote as an afterthought to the original article:

Kareiva, when I spoke with him, seemed to be much more adept at blowing up conventional conservationist thinking than at pointing out new ways forward. (He was vague about the details on that.) Cafaro, on the other hand, seemed stuck in 1960s outrage, in ways that also don’t advance the way society treats conservation issues. Here’s what I woke up this morning thinking: Instead of wasting their energy in bitter and divisive squabbling, maybe they should be collaborating to play good cop-bad cop with the culprits who are actually causing environmental destruction?

Here’s Cafaro’s response:

Many thanks for taking the time to interview me and Kareiva and write up your take on these matters. You are right that self-interest is a powerful force, but it isn’t everything. Appeals to fair treatment of others, whether human or nonhuman, have proven effective many times in the past, including when deployed by conservationists. It is hardly “pragmatic” to undermine them in the way Kareiva and Marvier do in their articles.

Self-interest is important. But how people define our self-interest will make a big difference in setting the terms for what sort of conservation we are able to achieve in the future. Looking down the line, it is hard to imagine preserving much wild nature in the context of endlessly growing human economies. Hence Primack and my suggestion that conservationists work harder to advocate for genuinely sustainable economies that recognize ecological limits to growth. Karieva and Marvier call this “scolding capitalism” in one of their articles. We call it necessary to the long-term success of conservation–even an anthropocentric conservation that only concerns itself with human well-being.

Here’s Kareiva’s response:

Richard is correct that when he called me I was vague about ideas—I was between sessions at the AMS meetings in Atlanta, trying to find a room for a talk, and distracted. But we have lots of specific ideas.

First check out the Natural Capital Project which has Read the rest of this entry »

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