Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ronald Baily: The Myth of Pristine Nature

Baily writing in Reason on the nature's interconnectedness and its misunderstandings.
Marris begins by exposing the vacuity of the notion of the ecological baseline. “For many conservationists, restoration to a pre-human or a pre-European baseline is seen as healing a wounded or sick nature,” explains Marris. “For others, it is an ethical duty. We broke it; therefore we must fix it. Baselines thus typically don’t act as a scientific before to compare with an after. They become the good, the goal, the one correct state.” What is so good about historical ecosystems? I too have noted that ecologists when asked this same question become almost inarticulate. They just know that historical ecosystems are better.

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