Ivie's World

Peter Rauch peterr at VIOLET.BERKELEY.EDU
Fri Mar 31 09:12:33 CST 1995

>Date:         Thu, 30 Mar 1995 20:11:26 MST

>If you want to save the world, go do it.  Just don't clutter up this server.

>All in favor, please send an "aye"

NAY! And the reason I vote NAY is contained in Mike's own writings...

Below, I extract a few telling words of Mike, and comment briefly on a
couple of them.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
>Thoughts from Madagascar, Michael A. Ivie, Copyrighted 1995.

>Excerpted from field notes, 15 November 1994, Fort Dauphin,

>So, this is the future of the world.  Sitting in a decaying
>restaurant in Fort Dauphin, I can see where we are headed.

>  I expect the area we work to be gone before we can return.

>So this is where the world is headed - ugly, filthy, poor and
>completely human-dominated.

>In traveling across Madagascar, this sense of despair reoccurs
>over and over.

>I am a conservation biologist. By definition I am not allowed to
>despair, and certainly not allowed to express it.

WRONG! My definition of a conservation biologist does not preclude you
from despairing nor from expressing it. I suspect that many other
people not only define it this way, but would object if you didn't
have that right to despair and express it. In fact, we must all have
that right and opportunity if we are going to be concerned world citizens.

>I am supposed to have hope, to produce solutions, and to use
>science to make sure the future is not so bleak.

The use of (biosystematic/conservation) science may be your strong
point in this battle against the bleak, but neither is science nor are
your options in the battle to conserve limited to narrow talk of
biosystematics. The forum of Taxacom is one of the only places where
biosystematists can get together, and in fact --are together-- (in one
room where each gets to take careful aim before casting his or her
own stone) and discuss this MOST IMPORTANT BIOSYSTEMATICS TOPIC as
biosystematist. If a few people leave the room --perhaps only for a
while-- so be it; maybe they are on some other planet.

>So what do I do?
>  Perhaps we will find a new patch of
>unique forest that we can protect.  At least we will provide
>ammunition for the continued preservation of the area where we
>work.  Perhaps our spending in the villages will convince them
>not to cut and burn as much forest this year.  Maybe, perhaps, at
>least ...

Maybe --but unlikely. Just look back at the past fifty years. There've
been thousands of "do"ings like yours. They've done nothing compared
to the levels of destruction that have proceeded simultaneously.

>We go on, because we must.
> If I can still find the
>forest, if the animals still exist in them, there is hope.
>Besides, I can live with myself as long as I am fighting.

Your journal entry --shared on Taxacom and hopefully to be shared even
more widely-- perhaps will have a greater impression and effect than
all the other ammunition you've fired as a scientist to date. I wish
that weren't a possibility, but I suspect it is.

Thanks for sharing your field notes --on Taxacom especially.

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