Harnessing Local Pride for Global Conservation

By David Bornstein

The toughest problems to solve are the ones that are hard to detect and require humans to change their behavior. That puts conservation at the top of the list. According to the World Conservation Union, some 40 percent of the more than 40,000 species it tracks on its Red List of Threatened Species are in danger of becoming extinct. The renowned biologist E.O. Wilson has written that the “loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats” is a more serious risk than energy depletion, economic collapse or even limited nuclear war. “As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired within a few generations,” he observed more than 30 years ago. The loss of biodiversity “will take millions of years to correct,” he added. “This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.”
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