conservation and environmentalism

Bob Parcelles,Jr. rjparcelles at
Tue Jan 8 11:34:42 EST 2002

--- David Smith <idleweed at> wrote:
> Hello,
>     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. Environmentalism 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


Hello David,

In my opinion you are about 90% + right on the mark.

Before I begin. In the last 4 days over 40 posts have been made
concerning a post My friend Neal Jones made to and about my friend
Ron Gatrelle without realizing Ron's satire. This, thread with the
exception of you, Mark, Chris, Anne and a few others has really not
helped us very much. We have vented etc. Questions have been raised.
In all of the smoke, dust and blood, only you have had the foresight
to rush in under fire and bring out for closer scrutiny some
important issues.

Ever since I can remember, even as a kid growing up in suburban
Maryland near Washington,DC; I considered myself a conservationist. I
never heard of the word environmentalist. It did not exist. Then in
the late sixties, I met people like David Brower etc. and a new word
was in my vocabulary. Being a critters and places person, "cleaning
up" stuff just seemed like something that needed to be done so I
"reluctantly helped. I helped start the first "Earth Day" in 1969,
joined all of the "right" organizations" and even got involved in
internal politics with one and joined with my friend, Brower his
Friends of the Earth. After a while I got tired of rhetoric and
lifestyle changes (the beginning of the granola bar junky, lets make
all people ride bicycles types)... let the establishment get away
with taking some freedoms away, while we repress others. Typical
Liberal do-gooder pap that sounds good but, except for a few issues
has caused a lot of talk and a lot of money being spent and the world
is right now going to hell in a hand basket. The "economic
conservatives" made a lot of sense (but lacked social conscience in
many cases). But tell a black in Selma Alabama that states' rights
would be the way to solve his ills most efficiently and he would have
probabably been as rude as some on this list or worst. So,I started
to look to ethics in science as well as causes, and realized politics
was a lost cause.

I decided first that each issue should stand by itself.  Subject it
to science and try to come up with PROACTIVE solutions, not just
REACTIVE  rhetoric. There is room for that also, but not too much.

Why can't you be a conservationist or even an environmentalist and
NOT be a liberal. Is conservation just for conservatives? How did
environmentalist become a another word for radical or ultra-liberal?
Well the actions and rhetoric of a very few, magnified by special
interest groups and people like Rush, who started off as a very
articulate spokesman for true conservatism and now is just a party
hack: have helped polarize our society so the truth is, many times,
not heard. In the last 15 years it has been a very concerted campaign
by a coalition of global companies and oligarchical influences to
negate all efforts in this direction. 

Now back in the beginning environmentalist were manipulated by the
very establishment that now is nullifying its rhetoric and closing
the door on their ability to have an effective audience. It served to
appease them and make liberals think they were controlling "part of
man's destiny". The conservatives in the meantime, thought they were
shaping policy. They gave us a short list of candidates  and we
thought we had a real choice. People stood up and declared "don't
worry the pendulum swings". It swung all right right against our
heads bruising us greatly.

So David, starting to predict what was coming I left movements,
taught high school biology, college zoology and ecology and started a
Consulting Firm. In my free time I teamed up with the first
Environmental Lawyer and started a "Peg a Polluter" campaign. Within
a short time Ralph Nader' Campaign Clean Water and EPA joined in and
the cleanof America's waterways is history. Well resting on my
laurels, I focused on research and consulting and just read the
environmental movements press and centered my focus on The Nature
Conservancy, National Audubon, etc. A lot of good stuff was done for
the environment. But realized that environmental education, the
training of enviro educators and the popularizing of the ecological
principles that scientists were testing was the best _longtime_
approach as long as democracy is truly at work and politicians listen
to scientists and the will of the people. Gradually the acceptance by
me of the need for environmental activism became manifested again.
All one had to do was read the papers and watch the two look alike
parties in action.

So there is a difference and I sometimes still whence at the word
environmentalist as well as the pap some of them are led to believe
by the knee-jerk liberal syndrome. I find it difficult to accept that
a person could be pro abortion but turn their back on Draconian
population measures being utilized by the Chinese, IMF, the World
Bank and to a certain extent the Wold wildlife Fund ( an arm of the
World Bank...just are AID was a part of CIA). They are much more
"radical" than Greenpeace! 

I think some issues do not even belong in political debate. Abortion
is one of them. Conserving our resources is another. Wise
stewardship, based on sound management principles founded by basic
science and applied science WITHOUT hidden _agendas_, such as some on
this volatile list have, is the only answer. What is political about
clean water? Air? The control as much as reasonabably possible on the
excellerated extinction of species populations? It shouldn't be.
Greedy, castrated politicians and their special interest masters are
the answer. We do not even have to mention some "evil empire"
manipulating policies on a global level. If these issues are going to
be taken on a list such as this they must be explored rationally not
by a bunch of cutesy people playing with prose. 

No I do not like environmentalists calling themselves ecologists! An
ecologist is a person who studies the science of ecology, whether
amateur (expert) or those of us who are professionals (got a job).
When pure taxonomists give off the cuff viewpoints and rebuttal to
others who have a cause, a noble cause, as Neil and Ron both do: we
see science become isolated and and cause the anti-intellectual
agenda being propagated today. David, your fine post may help us
define an ethic and define the limits a scientist may go with regards
to advocacy.

Science that is all advocacy is a repugnant state of afars; science
without some degree of advocacy is useless and of no aid to 
mankind.If you desire to be of the latter, fine...Just don't miss the
wake-up call.


PS: David, I still call myself a conservationist.

Bob Parcelles, Jr
Pinellas Park, FL
RJP Associates, C2M-BWPTi
rjparcelles at
"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
- Norman Vincent Peale

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