It may be best to keep this blog apolitical, but, in fact, conservation is far from apolitical. It is impossible to discuss conservation issues without discussing the state of politics in this nation and the world. With the election of Barack Obama and again a majority democratic senate, the United States of America has voted for a government that promotes sound environmental regulation; a government that recognizes the importance of science; a government that is committed to funding that science in order to advance society and, the conservation of nature.
Just like four years ago, this morning I find myself extremely relieved after much anxiety- not because of social issues that divide the country and affect me personally, but as a scientist and someone who has dedicated my life to the conservation of nature. I, and the rest of us, rely on government not only to fund the novel ideas of tomorrow that advance science and the way humans live in the world but also to regulate our activities so that the environment remains in a state that can sustain all life, including our own.
Even though many scientists and economists are working to put a price tag on all that nature does for us humans, conservation still does not pay- at least in the literal sense. Thus, relying solely on corporations or enterprise to make the right decisions for conservation without government funds or regulation spells disaster for environmental health. Logically, we should expected this, companies need to watch their bottom line and we can’t really blame them for that, it is mostly likely what any of us would do as a business owner. Because of that fact, just like we need the government to protect minorities and human rights, we need the government to regulate human activities to protect environmental health: by protecting biodiversity through the Endangered Species Act, minimizing water and air pollution, and working to halt global warming.
Thank you America for validating these ideals. Conservation won last night, which is a win for all of us.