How to be taxonomist [in a business world]?

R. Zander bryo at PARADOX.NET
Fri Jan 29 11:06:01 CST 1999

Peter Rauch wrote:

> Apparently, that's not enough to scare the world into making a path to
> the taxonomist's doorstep --people are too busy making a buck raping the
> planet. Who needs a taxonomist to assit in doing that?

Well, maybe if one can't beat 'em.... Follow this logic: Every species
represents a solution to an environmental problem. A Sustainable Society of the
future will use bio-engineered  life (genomically enhanced plants and animals)
and quasi-life (bio computers, e.g.) to produce all non-renewable resources. The
living genetic library we still retain is the economic basis of such a society.
Thus, environmental protection means business. The discovery, classification and
management of information about nature, and the inference of processes therein
therefrom (dictionary definition of science) requires the support of business
and a governmental interest in long-term economic goals. We all will profit from
environmental protection because it is protection of critical renewable

With the end of the Cold War, time frames and concerns have shifted from
survival through the next 2-10 years to (1) what's going on right now (e.g.
bottom line wealth), and (2) very long-term historical and futurist concerns. I
see an opening here for systematics if we can guide business interests with
certainty of profit as well as rigid control of resources.

The only problem I see between environmentalists and potential business users is
destructive extraction procedures (e.g. the taxol frenzy) which can be
controlled at the governmental level (by taxes, regulation, and encouragement of
small test culture and pilot production in botanical gardens, aquaria and zoos).

R. Zander

Richard H. Zander, Curator of Botany
Patricia M. Eckel, Research Fellow in Botany
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Pkwy, Buffalo, NY 14211 USA
bryo at   voice: 716-896-5200 ext. 351

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