The wisdom of John Livingston: The Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation

Patricia Randolph:  “Canadian John Livingston said he was decidedly not a conservationist because conservation had become resource development.”  Source:

GR:  Of course, I agree with the sentiment expressed by John Livingston and his 1990 interviewer Farley Mowat. It’s what Aldo Leopold said in 1949.  You see, there are two types of conservationists, the majority who view nature as a resource for human use, and the tiny minority who view nature as something of which we are a part.  Leopold believed that the former could only lead to environmental deterioration.

Here’s a quote from Leopold that relates to the article: “One basic weakness in a conservation system based wholly on economic motives is that most members of the land community [and ocean community] have no economic value. Wildflowers and songbirds are examples. Of the 22,000 higher plants and animals native to Wisconsin, it is doubtful whether more than 5 per cent can be sold, fed, eaten, or otherwise put to economic use. Yet these creatures are members of the biotic community, and if (as I believe) its stability depends on its integrity, they are entitled to continuance” (1949: 210).

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