Are conservationists hopelessly opposed to everything?

This is a refreshingly brave post, written by James Common, on the subject of collaboration and understanding of nuance when it comes to achieving conservation aims in the 21st century. The thinking behind it goes to the root of what I am trying to achieve in this blog – to suggest that we need to search for more middle ground when it comes to balancing food production and conservation. It may go a little far at times (and yes, I realise I may do the same in some of my posts) and personally I still see a necessity for the wholly compassionate conservationist who works to conserve all species. However, largely conservation needs to embrace diversity of thought far more than it allows for currently. We are all, in our own ways, liable to shifting baseline syndrome and seeing the world only (or mainly) through our own experience. We need to see the world not only with a broader historical viewpoint but also a broader cultural viewpoint and think about what it would be like to be in others’ shoes. Not everybody will like what James has to say here but I think it is something that we should all take on board. It’s always nice to see someone else saying what you yourself are thinking and, for me, this is certainly an example of such.

James Common

The title of this post represents a notion I have been contemplating a bit of late. Recently I have been thinking quite a lot about just what matters to me as an aspiring conservationist; what issues do I really want to see resolved in the near future. There are an awful lot to choose from at present – Britain being in the sorry state that is. This, coupled with a few conversations with like minded friends set me to thinking. How does one choose where best to focus their attentions in a world where the needs of nature so often play second fiddle? Are those stepping up to protect nature sometimes too complacent for their own good?

Conservationists – and I use the term very broadly here (activists, social commentators, academics and those individuals who get their hands dirty all included) do appear to be the odd ones out in Britain. We…

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