conservation and environmentalism

David Smith idleweed at
Mon Jan 7 06:51:00 EST 2002

    These terms used in recent arguments have been used interchangably and I
believe they mean quite different things. The following is my opinion.
Conservation used to mean conserving our resources (natural or otherwise) so
that we did not destroy our farm fields or our woods because we need them to
survive. Thus in my area we had contour farming and keeping cattle out of
woods so that we would have more timber. Enviromentalism seems to be
protecting the environment so that other animals and plants survive without
regard for the human use of these organisms.
    If one wants to preserve a certain woods so that people can enjoy it as
a park or it is needed by humans for some other reason this is conservation.
If it is being preserved because an organism lives there that lives nowhere
else and has no use to humans or probably any other creature this is
environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to concern itself with natural
areas or returning areas to their natural condition and restricting the use
of these areas to other animals besides humans.
    I think that the two terms should not be mixed because it gives
conservationists a bad name through association since environmentalism is
viewed negatively by so many people.
    This is just my opinion and I freely admit that I may be wrong.

                    David Smith


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