What are we going to do about this?

Dennis Paulson dpaulson at MAIL.UPS.EDU
Thu Oct 24 12:43:13 CDT 1996

>The only thing I can see wrong with announcing loudly and clearly that
>there is particularly rich fauna or flora somewhere is that this, too,
>may give many people the wrong impression.  If it is rich, then obviously
>it can afford to give up, or lose something, without going down the tube.
>I will cite as examples how people want to visit Yosemite, Banff and
>Jasper national parks because there is so much to see and enjoy in these
>places, and now that so many have, and now that so much damage has
>occurred, we must either shut down parts of these parks to humans and
>vehicles, or limit the number of people who visit and the number of vehicles
>they come in.  In Canada, we have done both in some parks.
>Robin Leech

Robin, I see your point entirely.  What I have in mind, rather than
pointing a finger at a particularly rich spot (although I know we have to
do that too), is more a general raising of consciousness about the richness
of the environment, the richness of all environments.  We need better
spokespersons.  We need advertising agencies willing to contribute x% of
their time to the environment, well-respected politicians who figure they
can't lose by calling a press conference and announcing their backing of a
plan to set aside 10 acres in a city for a rare plant.  We need retailers
to spend as much care on environmental displays as they do on halloween
displays.  We have to have marketers on our side, much as it pains me to
write that (I don't know why we don't have at least as large a fund of
marketer jokes as we do lawyer jokes).

If we have a huge proportion of our countries considered special, then
that'll take some of the pressure off Yosemite and Banff!

Many of my comments would be appropriate on an environmental list server, I
realize, but I want to strongly tie them back to taxonomy/systematics.
Ours is a field that is suffering severely because our basic science, which
brought the world the concept of biodiversity, as well as documenting all
of it, isn't benefitting by even the amount of publicity that multisyllabic
word generates!  We need to make the connection strong and obvious:
taxonomy <--> knowledge of nature <--> value of nature <--> love of nature.

Dennis Paulson, Director                           phone 206-756-3798
Slater Museum of Natural History                 fax 206-756-3352
University of Puget Sound                       e-mail dpaulson at ups.edu
Tacoma, WA 98416

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