(c) 2011 By Anthony P. Mauro, Sr
Those of you who have read “Color the Green Movement Blue: A Remedy for Environmental Health”** will most likely have insight into the meaning of the title of this blog. In fact, “preservation through conservation” is now the new motto for all three New Jersey Outdoor Alliance organizations; it is the essence of our belief.
While much of the modern green movement views any disturbance of the natural world as a destructive force, including humanity’s utilization of nature, the fact is that “disturbance” is a key ingredient for ensuring the health of things in Mother Nature’s care. Disturbance is at the root of conservation and it is conservation that is used to sustain life on earth
Conservation is defined as: maintaining the health of the natural world by means of sustainable use of environmental resources. In other words, forests, fisheries, wildlife habitats and biological diversity are not sustained by being left undisturbed, but are in fact sustained by countless interactions (disturbances) with their environment.
For example, life is dependent on living things attaining energy by means of consuming other living things. This “disturbance” takes the form of predator and prey relationships; living things pursuing other living things, and themselves being pursed by living things, for purposes of consumption and subsistence. Even plants make use of decomposing organic material; the resulting nutrients are taken up by roots allowing growth and development. These plants are then preyed upon by living things.
When there is balance in these predator and prey relationships there is the ability for living things to sustain their existence, this is known as conservation or the sustainable use of natural resources. Conservation helps to provide the symmetry needed for maintaining the health of the natural world and has been used successfully by Mother Nature to sustain life on earth for billions of years.
Natural disturbances are also used to preserve forest ecosystems. These disturbances come in the form of fire, diseases, pests, storms, etc. They are used by Mother Nature to regenerate forests; they are important factors that influence the structure and health of forests and provide for the survivability of forest dependent species. Disturbances and conservation are also used in our oceans and freshwaters, in different ways, with similar results.
The question we must ask ourselves is that if much of the green movement attempts to preserve nature by preventing healthy disturbances from occurring, and views humanity’s dependence on the natural world as intrusive, then how do we square the green movement with promoting true environmental health? After all, disturbance and conservation are at the very foundation of Mother Nature’s formula for preserving life and are the basis of evolution.
Since it is the act of conservation, and the applied principles of sustainable use, that is the heart of Mother Nature’s formula for preserving living things then who better to promote and educate others than those who participate in, and have an appreciation for, this dynamic; anglers and hunters.
Anglers, hunters, foresters, marine biologists and all conservationists recognize that they are cogs in the machinery of conservation. They do not see themselves as contaminates or destructive forces, but instead view themselves as vital components.
Humankind is as dependent on the principle of conservation for its own survival as are all living things in the natural world. The disturbance we create is not destructive but productive when we act in ways that manage the environment so that we do not exhaust, extinguish or defile natural resources. We form a basis for natural resource safekeeping by our desire to use them and perpetuate them based on our understanding that humankind’s survivability is dependent upon them.
With such awareness comes a responsibility for conservationists to take a leadership role in the environmental movement and to educate policy makers and inform the public of the importance of healthy disturbance and the principle of conservation. We must teach of the good that comes from emulating the ways of Mother Nature.
It is anglers, hunters and conservationists who labor within the realm of Mother Nature and have a keen appreciation for her ways. It is we who must take a leadership role in the environmental movement and engage in meaningful environmental stewardship. It is we who know first-hand that preservation of our natural resources is achieved through conservation.
** If you do not have a copy and would like one, by purchasing it through this link, you also raise funds for the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance Environmental Projects. [Webmaster]