IU professor of Anthropology, Eduardo Brondizio, was one of 240 conservationists to sign a letter to the scientific journal Nature, calling for greater diversity in the global debate about conservation. The letter was published last week. In the letter the point is made that the debate has become increasingly polarizing between those who argue that nature should be protected for its own sake, and those who argue that we must also save nature to help ourselves. The letter says that this situation is stifling communication, inhibiting funding and halting progress. An approach is proposed that accepts a unified and diverse conservation ethic; one that recognizes and accepts all values of nature and welcomes all philosophies justifying nature protection and restoration, from ethical to economic, and from aesthetic to utilitarian.
The signers write that much of the contention is intensified by the fact that the dispute is dominated by only a few voices, nearly all of them men’s. They call for a diversity of voices representing a wide range of ethnic, cultural and social perspectives, as well as gender balance.