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We hope that you enjoy our site, interspersed with the beautiful and awe-inspiring work of various wildlife artists, and engage with us for a rich and diverse dialogue on environmental stewardship. Please share with us your ideas, conservation success stories, and conservation heroes, so we can highlight them here for all to share and enjoy.
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, the stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” ― Aldo Leopold
Congratulations to Scott Cameron!
By Brent Fewell
I never weary of great stories like this one, capitalism at work to improve the human condition and sustain our oceans. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to internationally reform fisheries management. This Partnership between Encourage Capital, RARE, and Oceana will help Brazil, Chile and the Philippines sustainably manage their fisheries, enhance food security and strengthen local communities.
Daniel Botkin, , Religion and Nature,anthropogenic climate change,Balance of Nature,biological diversity,Charles Krauthammer,climate change,Earth’s tipping point, ecosystem stability, Encyclical,George Woodwell,homeostasis,James Gustave Speth, Judeo-Christian ethic on nature, Laudato si,Pope Francis
Guest Contributor: Dan Botkin
Throughout my career as an ecological scientist, I have been fascinated
by the connections between the Judeo-Christian religious beliefs and modern environmental science, and have written about this in various scientific articles and several of my books. So I have been especially intrigued that on June 18 the pope published his Encyclical Letter about climate change. It is a fascinating combination of many things, some completely contradictory, some I agree with, some I don’t, but with an overall important impact.
One of the intriguing things Pope Francis writes is
When we speak of the ‘environment’, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it. (Encyclical, Paragraph 139).
That people are part of nature, not separate from it, is a point I have emphasized in my writing many times over the years, but has not been a common part of dominant ideas in Western Civilization, which has tended to view people as separate, in a negative way, from nature — a view promoted especially since the beginning of the scientific/industrial age.
The Pope’s Encyclical Letter may seem to many people to be new, novel and unique in the history of religion. But in fact, as long as people have written in Western civilization, they have written about people and nature from a religious and philosophical perspective.
Pope Francis also writes in his new Encyclical Letter about the character of nature, stating, for example,
Frequently, when certain species are exploited commercially, little attention is paid to studying their reproductive patterns in order to prevent their depletion and the consequent imbalance of the ecosystem. (Para. 35), and
Despite the international agreements which prohibit chemical, bacteriological and biological warfare, the fact is that laboratory research continues to develop new offensive weapons capable of altering the balance of nature. (Para. 57).
This coming week's climate talks in Paris are surely to elicit some strong emotions from those who believe anthropogenic global warming (AGW) poses the most serious threat to the planet and those at the other extreme who deny the very notion that humans are capable of influencing climate. Our own President, who seems more serious about waging war on coal than he does on terrorism, will join 150 other Heads of State at COP21 (short for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change) in an attempt to forge an international agreement on the head-throbbing issue of AGW. More specifically, the world's leaders will focus on a policy solution to stop the planet from read more
Rod Dreher, one of my favorite conservative authors, once wrote the following as part of his 10-point crunchy con manifesto: #3 - We affirm the superiority of the free market as an economic organizing principle but believe the economy must be made to serve humanity's best interests, not the other way around. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government. I'm mindful that some so-called environmental groups may also rightly be added to that cautionary principle. Don't get me wrong. As someone who got his start with the National Wildlife Federation, I value and respect the important work of environmental advocates. Like a two-party political system, advocates serve an important societal role, offering checks-and-balances to the human exploitive excesses and policy read more
Cheers to the White House this week for issuing new guidance to federal agencies titled Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment. Here are some excerpts. We all have a moral obligation to the next generation to leave America’s natural resources in better condition than when we inherited them. It is this same obligation that contributes to the strength of our economy and quality of life today. American ingenuity has provided the tools that we need to avoid damage to the most special places in our Nation and to find new ways to restore areas that have been degraded. Federal agencies implement statutes and regulations that seek simultaneously to advance our economic development, infrastructure, and national security read more
The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will be hosting it's annual Business Forum on November 10 in Baltimore. This is a great opportunities for businesses in the Bay Watershed to meet with key federal and state leaders to understand new developments and opportunities impacting the restoration of the Bay. Register now for the forum here. Registration ends at noon on Friday, Nov 6. The Forum’s keynote speaker will be Ken Ulman, Chief Strategy Officer for Economic Development at the University of Maryland, College Park and President of Margrave Strategies, and former Howard County Executive. He will be joined by Chesapeake Bay Program Director Nicholas DiPasquale, Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles, regional business leaders, and others who will come together read more
Rob Sisson, Executive Director of ConservAmerica, draws parallels between Teddy Roosevelt and Jeb Bush on conservation in today's The Colorado Statesman. I include the article in its entirety, as Sisson sums it up best. In 1905, Gifford Pinchot, the father of American forestry, opened his seminal book The Use of the National Forest Reserves with, “The timber, water, pasture, mineral, and other resources of the forest reserves are for the use of the people. They may be obtained under reasonable conditions, without delay. Legitimate improvements and business enterprises will be encouraged. Forest reserves are open to all persons for all lawful purposes.” That’s not the case today. A bloated and distant bureaucracy in Washington, D.C., manages our public lands as if they read more
The tragic mining spill in the Animas River this summer has brought renewed vigor and attention on the need for addressing the nation's abandoned hardrock mines. There have been many on both sides of the political aisle who have tried but failed to bring about targeted, common sense reform that would encourage more state and local cleanups of abandoned mines that have devastated so many watersheds around the nation. And I'm pleased to see Congressman Gibbs and others spearheading a renewed effort to fix the problem. Why, you ask, hasn't more been done? Well, here's some helpful background on the topic, Calling All Good Samaritans. We could achieve so much more to advance environmental restoration if we could set aside politics read more
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of their employers or their clients.