Monday, December 05, 2011

Not seeing and talking about the bigger picture - and why it matters

Miles Mander and colleagues make an excellent point in their article that argues:

'As environmentalists, we are terrible salespeople. We are not enabling people in society to make informed decisions. So people are left to make their own meaning of the role that the natural environment plays in their lives and in the lives of others based on lists of ecological components, but without a sense of the bigger picture. People end up making trade-offs between ecological curiosities, on one hand, and the services supplied by new developments, on the other. The inevitable result is that they choose the known benefits offered by development.

We environmentalists are failing to explain how ecological processes improve people’s lives and contribute to the success of businesses, governments, and communities. How can lists of ecological curiosities help the city treasurer, city engineer, or city manager make an informed decision when she must choose between providing potable water to city residents or protecting a forest?'

They go on to argue that:

'The evolving language around ecosystem services is now starting to build the bridge between scientists’, engineers’, and society’s perceptions of the environment. Ecosystem services is becoming the common currency, or language, between society, engineers, and ecological sciences. The time for all sides to learn this common language has never been more urgent or, indeed, opportune'

No comments: