A Necessary Species

I’ve heard it said we humans are the only member of the biosphere that isn’t necessary. A variation of what E. O. Wilson said about ants, “We need them, but they don’t need us.” But deciding one species is more important than any other is wrong, even if that species is ourselves.

No, the whole earth is not for us to do with as we please. To do so fails the evangelical admonition to love your neighbor as yourself. It fails the first pillar of conservatism: liberty. There’s no freedom for anyone with no means to thrive. And science supports the biosphere operates more efficiently with its organic parts accounted for. But to say humans aren’t necessary makes the same mistake.

In fact, conservation is now a rationale for destroying people. The courts ruled in their favor, but Kalahari bushmen continue to be harassed under the guise of wildlife protection (here). In Tanzania, Maasai are beaten and evicted from their Serengeti. Why? To manage the grasslands for a United Arab Emirates safari company (here). The Zimbabwean Manzou were kicked off their land for the Queen’s elephant sanctuary (here). Conservation is now just a new wave colonialism, another form of extraction.

Native people have potential to contribute toward sustainability and biodiversity (read this). Many traditional lifeways demonstrate greater biodiversity than development (here).

To advocate for Earth must also advocate for people. We are part of it.

(This post was originally published on April 22, 2015, here.)

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