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Friday, 9 March 2012

Say that again?

Sometimes you have to wonder about what you have just heard or read. A case in point is the US Army officer who told reporters that a village in Vietnam had been bombed out of existence in order to save it ...

The New Scientist reports a similar statement has recently been made by a wildlife conservation journal, "Game Changer" to the effect that we have to be prepared to kill some endangered animals in order to "save" them. In short it is being suggested that "culling" elephants, rhinoceros  and other large endangered animals provides the only way to control their activities and prevent, for instance, a herd of elephants destroying forests and crops - or lions killing cattle herds.

Reading this debate reinforces, for me at least, the complexity of the whole ecology. Tweak one part and something else unravels. This runs right through the entire environmental argument. A lot of the time well-meaning individuals and organisations grab hold of one tiny piece of the jigsaw, insist that this is the "key" to everything and then run with it. Until it all goes wrong. Then, of course, its someone else's fault.

The excuse is always, "we have to start somewhere ..."

One thing I learned a long time ago, is that it is often better not to start something until you know exactly which dominoes are going to fall - and what they will trigger in their turn. At least then, you have some idea of how to contain the damage.

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