What’s good for Conservation?

There have been three posts on Dot Earth on a strategic change taken by some leading conservation advocates, led by Peter Kareiva, chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy. His view presented in Peter Kareiva, an Inconvenient Environmentalist is that environmental conservation is meeting less success due to “doom and gloom” advocacy, that turns business and the public off, and it would be more productive to work cooperatively with business.

That view is criticized by others in Critic of Conservation Efforts Gets Critiqued April 10, 2012 and then defended by Kareiva in “Another Round…Conservation on a Human-Shaped Planet” (April 11, 2012). My short comment (below) seems to clarify the real issue, and got six “thumbs up” to date.

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Just ignoring the deep conflict between conservation and business purposes, because it’s good for the business of conservation, doesn’t make the problem go away.

It’s very curious.  This is Kareiva’s second round of explaining his approach to being more cooperative with business.  I understand a lot of why that is good for conservation, as a business itself.  He still leaves out the big contradiction of that for the environment, though.

Businesses around the world are indeed now trying to learn how to avoid environmental liabilities of all kinds.  They’re now hiring teams of in-house consultants to guide their sustainability policies and practices to do that. Their purpose has not changed yet, however.  Their purpose is to sustain their growing rates of profit, not the earth.  Their impact reductions inherently involve only slowing the rate of accelerating increase in using resources and the environment.

Maximum rates of growing profits simply never come from reducing or even stabilizing business impacts.   I do actually applaud his engagement with business but it needs to be a far more open and honest effort to educate, still.  Nothing has really changed.  Just ignoring the deep conflict between conservation and business purposes, because it’s good for the business of conservation, doesn’t make the problem go away.

  • Jessie Henshaw
  • way uptown

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