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There’s a Role for Conservatives in Conservation
Pajamas Media ^ | November 25, 2010 | Jeffrey H. Anderson

Posted on 11/25/2010 4:55:54 AM PST by Kaslin

It may be tempting to lump this week’s “tiger summit” in St. Petersburg, Russia, in one’s mind with a global-warming convention or an Al Gore movie premiere. But the “tiger summit,” despite its slightly silly name, deserves better. The summit serves to highlight some deeply disturbing facts that will require dedicated action to reverse.

According to the AP, the “World Wildlife Fund and other experts say only about 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, a dramatic plunge from an estimated 100,000 a century ago.” According to wildlife experts, “tigers could become extinct in 12 years if countries where they still roam fail to take quick action to protect their habitats and step up the fight against poaching.”

To attempt to undertake such action, the tiger summit is seeking to raise $350 million to implement the first five years of the Global Tiger Recovery Program’s 12-year plan to try to double the tiger population in the wild.

Okay, I know what some of you are thinking, but issues of conservation should not be the exclusive domain of the political left. “Conservative” and “conservation” come from the same root, and, whatever their high-minded ideals, it’s not generally the liberals who dedicate themselves to preserving, protecting, and nurturing that which is worthwhile in the world. Moreover, there is no bigger, more legitimate issue of conservation than the pending extinction — at least in the wild — of many of the earth’s greatest animals.

In a recent op-ed titled “The Earth Doesn’t Care” (subtitled “About what is done to or for it”), George Will summarizes the views of Robert B. Laughlin, co-winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics. Characterizing Laughlin’s arguments, Will writes: “What humans do to, and ostensibly for, the earth does not matter in the long run, and the long run is what matters to the earth. We must … think about the earth’s past in terms of geologic time.”

The upshot of Will’s piece is that the earth is remarkably durable; that it often endures natural changes of far greater significance than any effects caused by the automobile or the air conditioner. Will writes, “Damaging this old earth is, Laughlin says, ‘easier to imagine than it is to accomplish.’ There have been mass volcanic explosions, meteor impacts, ‘and all manner of other abuses greater than anything people could inflict, and it’s still here. It’s a survivor.’”

But there is one exception: “Laughlin believes that humans can ‘do damage persisting for geologic time’ by ‘biodiversity loss’ — extinctions that are, unlike carbon dioxide excesses, permanent. The earth did not reverse the extinction of the dinosaurs.”

With that in mind, we ought to talk a lot less about the “need” to reverse global warming or to stop sensible oil-drilling in the vast open expanses of Alaska, and a lot more about a key way in which our actions — or our collective inaction — truly can change the natural world for the worse.

Tigers currently roam freely in 13 countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam. But each of these countries, on average, has only about 250 tigers (though the exact number varies from place to place). Tigers’ habitat, in the AP’s words, is being destroyed “by forest cutting and construction, and” — rather disturbingly and perversely — because “they are a valuable trophy for poachers who want their skins and body parts prized in Chinese traditional medicine.”

The Global Tiger Recovery Program aims, the AP reports, “to protect tiger habitats, eradicate poaching, smuggling, and illegal trade of tigers and their parts, and also create incentives for local communities to engage them in helping protect the big cats.”

So the plan to save the tiger will move forward on several fronts. The AP reports that “[the head of the World Wildlife Fund, James] Leape said that along with … [taking] stronger action against poaching, it’s necessary to set up specialized reserves for tigers and restore and conserve forests outside them to let tigers expand.” Leape adds, “And you have to find a way to make it work for the local communities so that they would be partners in [tiger] conservation and benefit from them.”

All of this, of course, will require money. And the $350 million that the tiger summit hopes to raise is a lot of money. But it’s less than a day’s worth of ObamaCare — literally. (Once up and running — if not repealed — ObamaCare would cost more than $500 million a day.) Even without the compulsion of the taxman, $350 million seems an attainable goal. That’s only about $1 for every American, never mind contributions from the rest of the world.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who attended the tiger summit, made news this week by donating $1 million to the World Wildlife Fund to help conserve tigers’ habitats. Again, this might prompt mocking in some quarters, as actors and actresses are easy to lampoon — and often justly. But why not think of it instead as a wonderful example of a private citizen (and a tremendous actor, to boot) exercising his natural right to control his own property and to use it in the service of good. There are a lot of other things that DiCaprio could have done with that million dollars, but I, for one, am glad he chose this.

His motivation? DiCaprio says it well: “If we don’t take action now, one of the most iconic animals on our planet could be gone in just a few decades.”

The powerful tiger has to be on — and may well head — the short list of the most gorgeous and splendid animals in all of creation. And yet many of the greatest of animals, the tiger and the great apes chief among them, are in very serious jeopardy of essentially disappearing from the wild. The AP reports that tiger populations have declined by over 40 percent in the past decade alone, and three of the nine tiger subspecies (the Bali, Javan, and Caspian) have all become extinct — and not just in the wild — since around the start of World War II.

One might be motivated by the biblical teaching that the creation of the animals was “good” and by our attendant responsibility to exercise “dominion” over them in a way that isn’t tyrannical but is just, or by the notion that a world in which a tiger can only be found in a zoo is an impoverished and imbalanced place. Or perhaps one’s motivation is simply a general sense of duty to protect incarnations of greatness, grandeur, and beauty in our world.

Regardless, there are plenty of reasons to take action. I encourage you to do so. The tiger is well worth saving.


TOPICS: Politics; Society
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 11/25/2010 4:55:56 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

2 posted on 11/25/2010 5:02:37 AM PST by central_va (I won't be reconstructed, and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Kaslin

Cinservatives make the best conservationists because we tend to live in rural areas and our knowledge of nature is based on experience and not academic like that of urban liberals.


3 posted on 11/25/2010 5:31:46 AM PST by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Kaslin

There are two approaches to conservation: shortage and abundance.

The left always approaches environmentalism and conservatism from the point of view of shortage: not because there necessarily *is* a shortage, or that they want to *end* a shortage, but as a means to achieve unrelated policy goals. It is the height of cynicism.

The proof of this is that they only allow a single possible solution to be aired to the “problem”. Any other means of addressing it are forbidden.

This solution is *always* rationing, deprivation, denial, government control, and restricting access, freedom and liberty. While raising taxes.

The other approach to conservation is actually focused on problem solving. As such it is bitterly attacked by the left, because it undermines their agenda.

The case of the tiger is not unique. Many animals and plants undergo population stress. But the problem is *neither* habitat loss or poaching. That is, the solution is not found on the “consumption” side of the equation, but the “production” side.

That is, the way to have more tigers is to *make* more tigers.

A superb example of this happened many years ago in California, with ducks. An organization of duck hunters, Ducks Unlimited, wanted more ducks to hunt. So they figured out what the ducks needed to breed. And yes, that did include *some* more habitat, along with a lot of other things.

To make a long story short, by just soliciting donations, in just a few years, California had so many ducks that natural controls, such as disease, came into play.

Since then, *real* environmentalists have applied themselves to breeding for release all sorts of animals. Even the almost extinct California Condor (down to 22 birds) was brought back in enough numbers to be released into the wild. There are now 381 of them, with 192 in the wild. There could be more, but there aren’t enough mountain ranges for their vast territories. They can live up to 50 years.

For a captive breeding program for tigers, a relatively small area would be needed, and through artificial insemination, female cats would be pushed to produce as many litters as possible.

And while it would make animal rights nuts blue and sad, enough cats could be bred in captivity to crash the market for Chinese medicine. If there’s no money in it, poaching declines.

The other part of it, that tigers will most certainly eat people, the left is fine and dandy with. However such people are rarely thrilled with the idea themselves.


4 posted on 11/25/2010 6:11:18 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Kaslin

With big, hungry tigers table manners have no place
(Dear dear dear no, dear dear dear no, dear dear oh dear no)
After they have eaten you they never say their grace
(Dear dear dear no, dear dear dear no, dear dear oh dear no)

Hunting tigers can be ripping fun
Like three blind mice, see the hunters run

Hunting tigers out in India
Out in, out in, out in India
You all know how beastly tigers are
Out in, out in, out in India

They bite
They scratch
They make an awful fuss
It’s no use stroking them and saying “puss puss puss”

Oh
Hunting tigers out in India
Out in, out in, out in India

They bite
They scratch
They make an awful fuss
It’s no use stroking them and saying “puss puss puss”

Oh
Hunting tigers out in India
Out in, out in, out in India

Tigers don’t go out on rainy nights
They’ve no need to whet their appetites
Hunting tigers out in India
Out in, out in, out in India

How many tigers can you find with forks and serviettes?
(Dear dear dear no, dear dear dear no, dear dear oh dear no)
Don’t care in what part of you they fix their flatware sets
(Dear dear dear no, dear dear dear no, dear dear oh dear no)

Hunting tigers can be ripping fun
Like three blind mice, see the hunters run

Hunting tigers out in India
Out in, out in, out in India
Hunting tigers out in India
Out in, out in, out in India

- The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band


5 posted on 11/25/2010 6:40:22 AM PST by Jagermonster (They will not force us. They will stop degrading us. They will not control us. We will be victorious)
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To: cripplecreek

Exactly. bttt

Individuals, Liberty and the Environment

The American Conservation Ethic
http://web.archive.org/web/20060402205422/http://nwi.org/

Preface

The American Conservation Ethic is grounded in experience, science, wisdom and the enduring values of a free people. It affirms that people are the most important natural resource and that we must be good stewards of the world around us for this and future generations. It is founded upon a deep respect for the wonder, beauty and complexity of creation and is dedicated to the wise use of nature’s bounty. It reflects every American’s aspiration to make our environment cleaner, healthier and safer for our future, and it draws its strength from the most powerful force for improving our environment ­ free people.

The American Conservation Ethic works because, like the American people, it is practical. It applies the tried and true principles of individual rights and responsibilities to the conservation of our natural resources. Property rights create incentives that both reward good stewardship and empower individuals to protect their property from the harmful acts of others. The guarantee that we shall reap the fruits of our labor inspires the investment of time, money and effort necessary to expand upon centuries of accumulated arts and sciences. As we learn more, we are better able to be good stewards of natural resources.

The American Conservation Ethic relies upon science as a tool to guide public policy. Science is an invaluable tool for rationally weighing risks to human health and measuring other environmental impacts. Foremost among our measures of environmental quality are human health and well-being. Science also provides a means of assessing the costs and benefits of actions designed to reduce, control and remediate pollution or other environmental impacts. Central to the American Conservation Ethic is the understanding that scientific development, technological innovation and economic growth are essential for a cleaner, healthier and safer environment. As we increase our knowledge, we improve our productivity, efficiency and potential to innovate ­ and these achievements conserve energy, raw materials and other valuable resources. As we learn more about the natural world we discover how to get more than ever before from the resources we use. Progress provides the know-how, time and financial resources needed to fulfill our aspirations to improve the health, beauty and productivity of America.

The American Conservation Ethic is established on the fact that renewable natural resources are not fragile and static but resilient and dynamic. Such resources are continually regenerated through growth, reproduction or other naturally occurring processes which cleanse, cycle or otherwise create resources anew. Because these resources are continually renewed they can be used in a wise and responsible manner without the fear that they will be lost forever. Through progress we come to better understand renewable natural resources and the relationships among them. The knowledge gained improves our ability to wisely use and conserve these treasures for the benefit of current and future generations.

The American Conservation Ethic promotes workable means to reach our environmental goals, rather than depending on an inefficient centralized environmental bureaucracy. By relying on the first-hand knowledge and practical experience of local people and accounting for widely varying conditions, a site and situation specific approach provides practical solutions to the environmental challenges we face. The greater the degree to which solutions to environmental problems reflect the knowledge, needs and desires of those individuals most affected, the more successful they will be.

America has unsurpassed natural wealth. Our abundant mountains, plains, forests and coasts, our lakes, rivers and streams, our wildlife and fish are unique in all of the world. They have provided for and have been cherished by millions of Americans for generation after generation. Our people ­ living, growing and creating within our rich culture of liberty ­ are our greatest resource. Americans today clearly aspire to improve upon our tradition of wisely using and conserving the world around us for generations to come. The American Conservation Ethic is the way to fulfill these aspirations.

The American Conservation Ethic recognizes that free people work to improve the environment. It relies upon empowering individuals to use, enjoy and conserve our environment. It inspires and challenges individual Americans to improve their surroundings and lives, and thereby the world we share. Cumulatively, these are the most effective and dependable means to ensure a cleaner, healthier and safer environment, conserve America’s unique resources and protect that which we all treasure most ­ people and liberty.

Back to the top

Principles of the American Conservation Ethic

I. People are the most important resource.

All environmental policy should be based on the idea that people are the most important resource. The inherent value of each individual is greater than the inherent value of any other resource. Accordingly, the foremost measure of quality of our environment is human health, safety and well-being. A policy cannot be good for the environment if it is bad for people. The best judge of what is or is not desirable is the affected individual.

Human intellect and accumulated knowledge are the only means by which the environment can be willfully improved or modified. Environmental policies should inspire people to be good stewards. Within the framework of equity and liability individuals carry out deeds that create incremental benefits in the quality or quantity of a resource or improve some aspect of the environment. Cumulatively these deeds result in progress and provide direct and indirect environmental benefits to society.

II. Renewable natural resources are resilient and dynamic and respond positively to wise management.

Renewable natural resources ­ trees, plants, soil, air, water, fish and wildlife and collections thereof ­ wetlands, deserts, forests and prairies are the resources we are dependent upon for food, clothing, medicine, shelter and to meet innumerable other human needs. Human life depends upon their use and conservation. Such resources are continually regenerated through growth, reproduction or other naturally occurring processes which cleanse, cycle or otherwise create them anew. While all living organisms and activities produce byproducts, nature has a profound ability to carry, recycle, recover and cleanse. These characteristics make it possible for us to wisely use renewable resources now while ensuring they are conserved for future generations. As Teddy Roosevelt, a founding father of conservation, recognized: “A Nation treats its resources well if it turns them over to the next generation improved and not impaired in value.”

III. The most promising new opportunities for environmental improvements lie in extending the protection of private property and unleashing the creative powers of the free market.

Ownership inspires stewardship. Private property stewards have the incentive to enhance their resources and the incentive to protect them. Polluting another’s property is to trespass or to cause injury. Polluters, not those most vulnerable in the political process, should pay for damages done to others. Good stewardship is the wise use or conservation of nature’s bounty, based on our needs. With some exception, where property rights are absent, we must seek to extend them. If this proves elusive, we must seek to bring the forces of the market to bear to the greatest extent possible. There is a direct and positive relationship between modern market economies and a clean, healthy and safe environment. There is also a direct and positive relationship between the complexity of a situation and the need for freedom. Markets reward efficiency, which is environmentally good, while minimizing the harm done by unwise actions. In the market, successes are spread by example, and since costs are not subsidized but are borne privately, unwise actions are on a smaller scale and of a shorter duration. As a result, such actions are on a smaller scale and of a shorter duration. We must work to decouple conservation policies from regulation or government ownership. In aggregate, markets not mandates, most accurately reflect what people value and therefore choose for their environment.

IV. Our efforts to reduce, control and remediate pollution should achieve real environmental benefits.

The term pollution is applied to a vast array of substances and conditions that vary greatly in their effect on man. It is used to describe fatal threats to human health, as well as to describe physically harmless conditions that fall short of someone’s aesthetic ideal. Pollutants occur naturally or can be a by-product of technology. Their origin does not determine their degree of threat. Most carcinogens, for example, occur naturally but do not engender popular fear to the same degree that man-made carcinogens do. Microbiological pollutants, bacteria and viruses, though natural, are by far the most injurious form of pollution. Technology and its byproducts must be respected but not feared. Science is an invaluable tool for rationally weighing risks to human health or assessing and measuring other environmental impacts. Health and well-being are our primary environmental measures. Science also provides a means of considering the costs and benefits of actions designed to reduce, control and remediate pollution or other environmental impacts so that we may have a cleaner, healthier and safer environment.

V. The Learning Curve is Green.

As we accumulate additional knowledge we learn how to get more output from less input. The more scientific, technical and artistic knowledge we have, the more efficient we are in meeting our needs. As we gain knowledge, we are able to conserve by substituting information for other resources. We get more miles per gallon, more board-feet per acre of timber, a higher agricultural yield per cultivated acre, more GNP per unit of energy. Technological advancement confers environmental benefits. Progress made it possible for the American farmer of today to feed and clothe a population more than two and a half times the size of the one we had in 1910 and triple exports over the same time frame while lowering the total acreage in production from 325 million to 297 million acres. That is 28 million acres less, an area larger than the state of Louisiana that is now available for other uses such as wildlife habitat. American agriculture has demonstrated that as an unintended consequence of seeking efficiencies, there are environmental benefits. As Warren Brookes used to put it simply , “The learning curve is green.” This phenomenon has a tremendous positive effect on our environment and progress along the learning curve is best advanced by the relentless competition in the market to find the best or wisest use of a resource.

VI. Management of natural resources should be conducted on a site and situation specific basis.

Resource management should allow for variation of conditions from location to location and time to time. A site and situation specific approach takes advantage of the fact that those closest to a resource are best able to manage it. Such practices allow us to set priorities and break problems down into manageable units. Natural resource managers, on site and familiar with the situation, whether tending to the backyard garden or the back forty pasture, are best able to determine what to do, how to do it and when to do it. They are able to adapt management strategies to account for feedback and changes. A site and situation specific management scheme fits the particulars as no government mandate or standard can. Additionally, a site and situation specific approach is more consistent with policies carried out at lesser political levels. The closer the management of natural resources is to the affected parties, the more likely it is to reflect their needs and desires. The more centralized management is, the more likely it is to be arbitrary, ineffectual or even counterproductive. A site and situation specific approach avoids the institutional power and ideological concerns that dominate politicized central planning.

VII. Science should be employed as a tool to guide public policy.

Societal decisions rely upon science but ultimately are the product of ethics, beliefs, consensus and many other processes outside the domain of science. Understanding science for what it is and is not is central to developing intelligent environmental polices. Science is the product of the scientific method, the process of asking questions and finding answers in an objective manner. It is a powerful tool for understanding our environment and measuring the consequences of various courses of action. Through science we can assess risks, as well as weigh costs against benefits. While science cannot be substituted for public policy, public policy on scientific subjects should reflect scientific knowledge. A law is a determination to force compliance with a code of conduct. Laws go beyond that which can be established with scientific certainty. Laws are based upon normative values and beliefs and are a commitment to use force. Commitments to use the force of law should be made with great caution and demand a high degree of scientific certainty. To do otherwise is likely to result in environmental laws based upon scientific opinions rather than scientific facts. Such laws are likely to be wasteful, disruptive or even counterproductive, as scientific opinions change profoundly and often at a faster pace than public policy. The notion behind the Hippocratic oath ­ first do no harm ­ should govern the enactment of public policy.

VIII. Environmental policies which emanate from liberty are the most successful.

Our chosen environment is liberty, and liberty is the central organizing principle of America. To be consistent with our most cherished principle, our environmental policies must be consistent with liberty. Restricting liberty not only denies Americans their chosen environment, but also constrains environmental progress.

Liberty has powerful environmental benefits. Freedom unleashes forces most needed to make our environment cleaner, healthier and safer for the future. It fosters scientific inquiry, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, rapid information exchange,


6 posted on 11/25/2010 6:56:43 AM PST by Matchett-PI ( Sarah Palin / Marco Rubio - a "can't lose" ticket for 2012..)
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To: Kaslin

If they want to save tigers that’s fine, but do it without taxpayer money.

It is not the government’s responsibility to stop extinction for “beautiful” or “majestic” species.

Those that wish to use taxpayer money for this do not have the right to determine how government spends money based on their aesthetic tastes.

Remember, we’re out of money and we’re headed into an economic abyss unless we get a handle on this frivolous spending.


7 posted on 11/25/2010 7:07:06 AM PST by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: Matchett-PI

Today my liberal relatives will flow in from Minneapolis, Livonia, Ann Arbor, and Kalamazoo. They’ll see nothing more than the highway in front of them and cars around them. Together they’ll whine about the devastation of the wilderness.


8 posted on 11/25/2010 7:08:32 AM PST by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Good post.

I would add to that that a large part of conservation depends on economic development. I don’t know of big cats in the US that are in imminent danger of extinction. Quite the opposite, in fact, for the mountain lion.

I saw what appeared to be a black panther on a hillside in Pennsylvania a few years ago. No clue why, since I thought they were not native to that area.

Back to my point, all of those countries where tigers are native are mostly third world, where desperate poverty and political corruption run rampant. Although the left uses conservation as a bludgeon to try to force us into a similar political system, the actual evidence is that those systems are phenomenally bad for the environment and species preservation.


9 posted on 11/25/2010 7:30:51 AM PST by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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