NANFA-- Re: NANFA-Need for Education

Brian Bastarache (
Mon, 04 Jun 2001 20:44:47 -0400

Hello fellow NANFA Members:

I found something very disturbing today on this E-mail list. A NANFA
member related a story about he could not explain to another person why
saving a little fish (Devils Hole pupfish) was important. This, along with
the outbursts of ignorance from up here in New England, illustrate why
education is such an important part of conservation and why education is
the most important mission of NANFA.

Why must species be saved? What value can they have?

Ecological Values:
When introducing ecology in the classes I teach, I compare an ecosystem to
a car. You can run with this in several different directions. When
discussing biodiversity compare species to car parts. You can remove
different parts with different consequences.

Remove the pin stripes and it's not as pretty, but it still works. Remove
the windshield wipers and it is now limited; you can not drive in the rain.
Remove the little spark plugs and the whole damn thing does not work!
Cars we understand completely. Ecosystems we do not. Which species is a
pin stripe....a spark plug?

Yes, ecosystems change and extinction is a natural process. BUT, these
happen over the vast expanses of geological time, not in the blink of our
insignificant lives! We have sped the process of extinction to a
ridiculous pace. A species lost every day is a conservation estimate. The
ecosytem can't keep up. Evolution is slow.

REMEMBER: The car's job is to transport my lazy butt around. The
ecosystem's job is to keep my lazy butt alive!!!!!!!

Scientific/Biological Values:
Walk through CVS and almost every drug on the self, over and behind the
counter, originated from a living organism. Most of them from plants, but
some from animals too. NASA, working with Wood's Hole Oceanographic Inst.,
took oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau) into space. Toadfish have an inner ear
anatomy similar to humans. This allowed us to study the afects of the zero
gravity environment on our ballance and bodies. The pacific yew, a tree,
contains a chemical that has shown promise in cancer treatment. Both the
pacific yew and the toadfish were considered "trash species". "Trash
species", a disgustingly arrogant and ingnorant notion.

Check out what is going on with research into snake and spider venom!

Economic Values:
The Great Lakes Regions pulls in about 4 billion dollars per year from
recreational fishing. What do you think all those bass and pike eat?
...and what do you think all those "minnows" eat? ...and what do you think
all those "bugs" eat?... ... ... ... ...

I could go on. I haven't hit the recreational, spiritual or existance
values, but I feel the above three values can apply to anyone.

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