In the weeks leading up to, and since, the most recent US election highlight the degree on acrimony in America; we are an uncivilized country. I guess that nearly every American would agree that this country has never been more divided in their lifetimes than it is right now. I grew up in the eras of Civil rights and Vietnam and that was, indeed, divisive. Campus protests, Capital marches, and even riots in the streets. However, now the issues are broader: war and civil rights along with energy, economy, environment, immigration and others. Further, the actors are not simply the dispossessed and college students, but people from all sectors along with our political leaders and leading news outlets. It seems dauntingly divisive at a scale that transcends the 1960’s. Can discourse focused on natural resource decisions provide an outlet to regain civility and treat heterogeneous opinions as just that, and not colors of flags on a battlefield?
Oh, I hope so. But then I am but a humble plant ecologist. Natural resource management is challenged by the human destruction of resources placing species at risk of extinction. One potential ‘solution’, upon which I have written, is Assisted Migration (AM). AM is deeply dividing the conservation community. Proponents argue that we need to deploy AM to reduce the magnitude of future extinctions. Opponents argue that it is too risky, not likely to succeed, will cause another suite of problems, or is ethically misguided. It is the ‘ethically misguided’ that is at the core of this essay.
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