If there is one tenet for conservation biologists and environmentalists to live by in the age of the Anthropocene, it would be this pearl of wisdom from the ecologist Daniel Botkin:
Nature in the twenty-first century will be a nature that we make; the question is the degree to which this molding will be intentional or unintentional, desirable or undesirable.
Like it or not, such molding is much of what conservation is all about today. I’m sure this makes a lot of people in the green world nervous. But as Andy Revkin has observed:
Taking full ownership of the Anthropocene won’t be easy. The necessary feeling is a queasy mix of excitement and unease.
It’s not like we have any choice, either. For as Peter Kareiva, the Nature Conservancy’s top ecologist says, “the Anthropocene is about designing the future.” He said that and much more when he recently stopped by Jon Christensen’s UCLA class on science communication and environmental journalism. There’s a recording of the discussion, which is well worth a listen.
The conversation between Kareiva, Christensen and UCLA students touched on several environmental themes (including an emerging one) that are of great interest to me. I will cover all this in a longer post appearing tomorrow.