> 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.
Education is not enough. The following dialog with a hypothetical
adversary (Let's call him "Rush") illustrates my point:
> 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?
[Rush] OK, the Devil's hole pupfish lives in a tiny hole in the middle
of the desert. Do you really expect me to believe that this
insignificant fish that lives in one pool of water is somehow a vital
part of the local ecology? You'll have to show me the PROOF,
because I don't believe it.
> 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.
[Rush] Mother nature always adapts. It doesn't matter what you
throw at it. You get all upset when a new housing development
goes up, but have you ever considered how much damage
something as common and natural as a hurricane does? How
about the incident that wiped out the dinosaurs? We souldn't BE
here if the dinosaurs hadn't been wiped out.
[Rush] Man couldn't destroy the environment even if he tried.
Anytime you remove something, something else always moves in
to take its place.
> REMEMBER: The car's job is to transport my lazy butt around. The
> ecosystem's job is to keep my lazy butt alive!!!!!!!
[Rush] The idea that the environment is like a car engine is absurd.
You take a piece off of a car engine and it stops running. You
take a part out of the environent and something else moves in to
take its place. There's no comparison!
[Rush] I'm tired if the doom and gloom being preached by the
environmentalist wackos. First we hear that we're destroying the
ozone layer. We couldn't do it if we tried! The ozone layer is being
constantly regenerated. Then we hear that our SUV's are causing
global warming. But our best scientists say there IS NO global
warming. Then you whine that we are cutting down all the trees,
the so-called "lungs of the earth". Aside from the fact that there
are more trees on the face of the continent that there were 200
years ago, the idea that we rely on them to produce the oxyegen
we breathe has been proven false.
[Rush] And NOW you want to tell me that mankind is going to be
wiped out because of one little fish that lives in a pool in the
desert? Give me a break!!
> 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!
[Rush] We haven't even scratched the surface of the medicicinal
possibilities of wildlife. Environmentalist wackos are constantly
whining that we are going to cut down all the rainforests, and lose
our cure for cancer. It isn't humanly possible! We could run
chainsaws day and night and we STILL wouldn't be able to cut
down all the rainforest. Never mind a bunch of peasants who are
just trying to eke out a living.
> 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?... ... ... ... ...
[Rush] This is the best argument I can think of for utilizing our
natural resources rather than having a "hands-off" policy. If the
environmentalist wackos had their way, there would BE NO
recreational (or commercial!) fishing on the Great Lakes. And it
seems that no matter how many fish we catch out of there, there
are always new fish to take their place. Last I heard, bass and
pike weren't on the endangered species list, in SPITE of being the
most popular sportfish in America!
> 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.
[Rush] You haven't convinced me yet. If an animal is so rare as to
be endangered, the how could it possibly have a vital role in the
Yr obt svt,
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