Don’t know how many career conservationists we have here on the forums, would be interesting to get a rough idea, but what I’d like to know is: What is your approach to conservation insofar as what meaning you perceive it to carry for the betterment (or otherwise) of the world and where it fits in?
I’ll give an example or two
My personal approach to conservation is being a generalist. Firstly, this means I don’t restrict my field of knowledge or studies to just 1 subject, but to as many as I can (plants, geology, chemistry, animals etc.); the reason for this, secondly, is to have a suitable baseline of applicable knowledge with which I can jump in to assist in a broad spectrum of environmentally related issues in practice anywhere, or at the very least in Southern Africa. The first jobs I landed taught me much about how to practice and maintain elements in the construct of “Fortress” conservation, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that trying to fence off and fervently guard isolated wild areas from the many exploits of humankind is a folly and that, in truth, the future of conservation and how relatable it can be made to the masses lies in its ability to be adopted at a grass-roots resource management level with input from all segments of the local community in question
I’ve also met others with a completely different approach: where too many land concessions from national government to the “people”, coupled with too little oversight and regulation of how said group uses and replenishes natural resources, had led to a staunch anti-community attitude wherein what little financial resources remain are spread wafer thin over a foundation of trying to remain aesthetically relevant to a very small demographic, which further isolates the property from broader stakeholders and feeds into a cycle
It’s important to note that in this discussion, we are not here to cast judgement on one particular stance or another, or even to explore the pro’s and con’s of each (though anyone who wishes to do the latter can go ahead), but instead to describe each of our experiences, either of ourselves or of those we have met along our journey
So, what kind of conservationist are you? :)