Open letter to journal Nature calls out polarized debate in conservation

Two-hundred forty leading conservationists wrote a letter published in Thursday’s edition of Nature , an international weekly journal of science.

These conservationists argued that the influence of conservation is being hurt by the field’s lack of inclusiveness, according to an IU news release.

IU professor of anthropology Eduardo Brondizio and former National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration administrator Jane Lubchenco were two of the authors of the letter alongside lead scientist of the Nature Conservancy Heather Tallis, who was also the lead author of the article.

In the letter, the authors urge that conservation move past a malicious debate that has polarized the issue in the most recent years, according to the University?release.

The debate has created two sides with in the conservation movement that bring the idea that human beings have to protect nature for themselves in conflict with the notion that nature should be protected for nature’s sake.

“Conservation has always been good at saving a diversity of species, and if we look back in history 100 years or so, it was also good at embracing a diversity of values,” Tallis said in the release.

Brondizio said in the release that pitting these two sides against each other ignores the cultural, psychological, spiritual and economic interdependence that humankind has ?with nature.

At the same time, it also limits both social awareness and better conservation policies, he said.

“We live in complex landscapes where different social groups, production systems, urban networks and global resource markets are interconnected — and so are different visions and ideas of development and conservation,” Brondizio said in the release.

Contention of core values and persistent gender and cultural biases are two considerable issues often encountered in the field of conservation, Tallis said in the release. The letter aims to address both.

Conservationists are still able to add their names to the letter and learn more about what steps are ahead in bringing more diversity to the values and voices of conservation at the Nature Conservancy website.

“I started this letter to raise the voices of women but quickly found just as many men in conservation who are passionate about broadening the kinds of values and people we embrace,” Tallis said in the release. “They see that we can only meet the great challenges we face by including many values and many ?perspectives.”

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