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Conservation and Economics: A Constant Struggle in the Past and Present A Mutual Relationship in the Future

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Conquerors and competitors, that’s what humans and all animals are to a point; every living thing on Earth has one mission: survive and reproduce. The balance of the environment relies on this concept of constant competition, but this balance also has checks and controls if it is damaged or becomes unstable. Humans have developed to the point where they can completely exploit the environment however they want. There are no natural predators to control our population, we fight diseases with ground-breaking technology, and we replace native plants and animals with ones that fit our “needs” more suitably. We have, in a sense, created our own world of culture and trading that is separate from the natural world. In this new world, economic prosperity trumps all, and conservation and preservation takes a backseat if the dollar signs aren’t favorable. This realization has led many, including one of the founders of conservation, Aldo Leopold, to be pessimistic about whether a system of conservation based on economic self-interest can succeed. He states in his work The Land Ethic, “a system of conservation based solely on economic self-interest is hopelessly lopsided” (756). I, on the other hand, have more faith and optimism that humans will realize the importance of this other world, and live in harmony with it. I believe this because of the possible consequences of exploiting the natural world, the eventual realization that we need to conserve resources for future use and our future physical and economic survival, and the recent trend that these scenarios are starting to be realized, put into practice, and educated to others. Humans have the natural instinct to survive, and a higher level of thinking and problem solving will accompany th...


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...ily, 15 Sep. 2008. Web. 4 May 2011.
James, Alexander, Kevin J. Gaston, and Andrew Balmford. "Can We Afford to Conserve Biodiversity?" BioScience 51.1 (2001): 43. MAS Ultra – School Edition. EBSCO. Web. 4 May 2011.
Leopold, Aldo. "The Land Ethic." A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. 8th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. 745-765. Print.
Lomborg, Bjørn. The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001. Print.
Michaels, Patrick J. "Is Global Warming Always Bad?" The Cato Institute. November 3, 2004. 4 May 2011
Yohe, Gary, James Neumann, Patrick Marshall, and Holly Ameden. "The Economic Cost of Greenhouse-induced Sea-level Rise for Developed Property in the United States." Climatic Change 32.4 (1996): 387-410. Web.


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