Recently I’ve been reading salvos in a raging debate about biological and ecological conservation. Traditionally, conservation has largely been about protecting “natural” environments by keeping human presence to a minimum. Now some observers have pointed out that there are no longer any environments untouched by human activity (especially if you include the effects of carbon dioxide and plastic pollutants); “pristine” is a moving target; and the approach as a whole is elitist (for example, see here).
But the biggest critique of traditional land conservation and species preservation efforts is that, on a global scale, they are failing. In short: “Biodiversity on Earth continues its rapid decline. We continue to lose forests in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. There are so few wild tigers and apes that they will be lost forever if current trends continue. Simply put, we are losing many more special places and species than we’re saving.”