To an outsider peering into the world of natural resource conservation, it may not always be immediately clear what the point of it all is.
But to think that protecting the Earth is somehow superfluous, or counterproductive — or even a choice — is to miss a fundamental truth of life on this planet.
“I study the relationship between species, and the relationship between species and the environment — including us,” said marine ecologist Enric Sala, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence. “The biosphere is one. Everything is connected.”
As he writes in his recent book, “The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild,” “Even if it’s just for selfish reasons — for our own survival — now more than ever we need the wild.”
Sala picked apart five common misapprehensions about conservation for HuffPost. The following are his responses to each myth, edited for length and clarity.
Myth No. 1: Conservation is an altruistic, bleeding-heart pursuit.
Sala says: It’s a myth that conserving our life-support system is a luxury. Come on. Everybody’s so worried about the financial markets and the economy, but there is no economy without people. And there are no people without the natural world, because everything we need to survive — the oxygen we breathe, the food we eat, the clean water we drink — it’s produced by the work of other species. We cannot replicate any of the goods and services that nature gives us for free.
Myth No. 2: Conservation costs too much money.
Sala says: Actually, the lack of conservation costs more money. One example: the COVID-19 pandemic. Every single person on the planet has been affected by this. What is the cost of the pandemic? The International Monetary Fund estimated $9 trillion. Other estimates run as high as $15.8 trillion.
How much would...