More on preservation versus conservation

Finished the audio book version of “The Wizard & the Prophet” last week. It was a very interesting book and I recommend it. This week the author – Charles C Mann – is doing the full-court media press. This article covers the main points, so if you don’t want to read the book, this will do.

I wrote a note about the book here, if you want my perspective.
If you want to listen to the author interview, “On Point” covered it on January 24.

I think this is an important book about an interesting division in the environmental community. I think of it as the difference between conservationists & preservationists, but I do not think that a synergy is not possible.

For example, I believe strongly in protection, restoration and regeneration of soils.Feed the soils and the soils feed us. This is the Vogt perspective. On the other hand, I believe strongly in developing GMOs and using a variety of methods to regenerate ecosystems, Borlaug perspectives. Both can be used and should be used in an iterative, adaptive process. GMOs should be a part of organic agriculture, since they are organic, but they will not be a panacea.

Charles Mann says that it is a matter of values and not science. I see that too, but – again – I am a mixer and not a splitter. I believe in the decentralized, closer to nature lifestyles, but I see no reason why this cannot be done using science and productivity. Being close to nature is good, but in the old days life on the land sucked. It would be better to live close to nature w/o having to put up with all the bugs, diseases & backbreaking work.

My tree farms are mostly organic, but I use herbicides when I need them and I welcome genetically improved trees. So far, there are no GMOs available, but if they come along, I will assess them and if they are appropriate, I will have no hesitation in using them.