Environmentalists and Agriculturalists
Doug Wilde (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wed, 29 Dec 1993 09:29:58 -0600 (CST)
Peter Donovan raised an interesting point regarding
environmentalists having a bias in favor of native critters as
opposed to (instead of?) those species useful to man. The
pejorative tone does little to foster cooperation between two
groups with the same basic goal: ensuring a sustainable future
for people *and* beasts *and* plants alike.
There is no homogeneous, monolithic group of individuals called
"environmentalists", just as the label "sustainable
agriculturalist" covers a disparate assemblage of producers. But
lets accept these titles for ease of discussion.
Peter is correct that environmentalists (E) do favor indigenous
species over introduced species. I suspect most E are concerned
with the loss of habitat and germ plasm. The introduction of
species into new environments can have devastating consequences
for native species. This is where E can come into conflict with
agriculturalists (A). The more rabid among the E would argue "no
new introductions at all!"
Extreme A, on the other hand, march forward under the command to
"feed and clothe humanity!" A heavy burden indeed. Neither E's
nor A's extreme position is tenable. Compromises must be made
and that only will occur with dialogue. E must accept the use of
non-indigenous species, unless they insist we return to a
lifestyle where a 40-year-old was an "elder." The
agriculturalists must recognize their responsibility to not
devastate the environment with their practices. I always though
the sustainable ag (SA) people walked the precarious tightrope
between these two groups fairly well. The results may not be
pleasing to the extremes, but no compromise is perfect.
The SA and E both benefit from and need the support of the other
if we are to have an enjoyable and comfortable future.