The case for conservation podcast

The case for conservation podcast

The case for conserving the biodiversity of life on Earth needs to be credible and robust. Sometimes that requires a willingness to question conventional wisdom. The case for conservation podcast features long-form conversations with conservation thinkers, in which we try to untangle issues into which they have some insight.

Episodes

May 4, 2023 42 mins

There is a tendency in societies to adhere to conventional wisdom. We resist challenges to consensus views, and may even dismiss those who do challenge them as conspiracy theorists... which they sometimes are. But perhaps we take that idea too far sometimes. Perhaps we underestimate the importance of having the freedom to challenge orthodoxy. We live in an age in which more people than ever before are lucky enough to inhabit free s...

Mark as Played

You may have heard of the concept of “biodiversity risk”, especially in the context of business. It has become increasingly widely used in recent years and the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) is a recent development that has done a lot to popularize the concept. But what exactly is biodiversity risk and, for that matter, what is TNFD? Why has this topic been gathering so much steam lately, and what are som...

Mark as Played

Wherever conservation takes place, at whatever scale, and in whatever form, there’s a good chance that it is somehow affected by the decisions taken under multilateral environmental agreements, or “MEAs”. These agreements, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, are made between multiple countries - sometimes including almost all of the world's nations - with the aim of addressing one or another environmental challenge...

Mark as Played

In days gone by development (of cities, infrastructure, agriculture, etc.) happened without regard for the environment. And it was really the devastating effects of unimpeded development that led to the establishment and early growth of the environmental movement, broadly speaking. We have become much more efficient at using land and other resources, but development remains inevitable. In theory, biodiversity offsets cancel out the...

Mark as Played

After decades of struggling for recognition, environmental issues, including biodiversity conservation, have exploded onto the global scene in recent years. This is incredibly encouraging and gratifying, but are we sufficiently aware of the risks that come with such vastly increased public support? How much is politics influencing the public discourse on the environment? Are we paying enough attention to other, interrelated, societ...

Mark as Played

After decades of struggling for recognition, environmental issues, including biodiversity conservation, have exploded onto the global scene in recent years. This is incredibly encouraging and gratifying, but are we sufficiently aware of the risks that come with such vastly increased public support? How much is politics influencing the public discourse on the environment? Are we paying enough attention to other, interrelated, societ...

Mark as Played

This month, for the first time, I am the interviewee rather than the interviewer. This episode was recorded for the BioScience Talks podcast, which is the podcast of the journal BioScience, which recently published an article that I co-authored and which is the subject of the conversation. BioScience were kind enough to let me co-release the episode here, and it’s already been posted on BioScience Talks. It’s about science communic...

Mark as Played

Covid-19 has, probably more than anything, ever, made science communication a matter of public interest. A couple of weeks before recording this episode, the journal BioScience published an article that I co-authored, which takes a critical look at one aspect of science messaging - the way it has portrayed the relationship between land change and  infectious disease risk. That paper will actually be the focus of next month's e...

Mark as Played

Cities - even the greenest of them - replace nature with glass, concrete and asphalt. And their footprint extends far beyond their boundaries to provide for the needs of the thousands, millions, or ten of millions of people concentrated within them. They are home to most of the people on Earth and are the sources of most pollution. But it seems cities are also an inevitable result of the development of civilization. They are growin...

Mark as Played

Few technologies are viewed with as much suspicion as genetic modification. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are banned in several parts of the world; an entire protocol under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is dedicated to controlling their effects on biodiversity; and national and international agreements and regulations tightly legislate their use across a broad range of applications. Why, then, do GMOs continu...

Mark as Played

This episode is about environmental alarmism. Alarmism means exaggerating danger and thereby causing needless worry or panic. These days the media is flooded with proclamations and predictions of ecological catastrophe. There is no doubt that our environmental challenges are many, and huge, and they certainly do present dangers. But are they being seen in the context of broader developmental challenges and associated trade-offs? Or...

Mark as Played

Most people outside Africa probably don’t associate trophy hunting with conservation. In fact, certain publicized incidents of trophy hunting have caused something of a global moral panic. The same often goes for the culling of animal populations to manage their numbers and the trade in ivory, even ivory harvested from elephants that die naturally. In today’s discussion we get into these perceptions, and my guest explains why they ...

Mark as Played

In 1975, biologist Paul Ehrlich said that 90% of tropical rainforests would be lost by about 2005. Although their loss has continued at a steady rate, by 2019 the figure was more like 32%. Also in the 1970s, ecologist Kenneth Watt forecast a world 11 degrees colder in the year 2000. Of course, it’s been well publicized that the trend is in the opposite direction, and at a less severe pace. At a more modest scale, botanist John Acoc...

Mark as Played

Renewable energy is one of the great hopes of humankind when it comes to addressing the threat of climate change and some forms of pollution. Thanks to technological advances it’s now become cost-effective enough to compete with non-renewable energy sources. As renewable energy technologies and efficiency continue improving, and new innovations emerge, it’s hoped that we can make clean energy ubiquitous. But, as Thomas Sowell said,...

Mark as Played

It’s widely agreed that one of our greatest global environmental challenges is the impact of fisheries on the oceans. Aquaculture, practiced at a small scale around the world and especially in Asia for centuries, emerged decades ago as a potential solution. But it soon became clear that aquaculture was using more wild-caught fish as feed (as an input), than it was generating as product. In other words, it was making the situation e...

Mark as Played

Freshwater biodiversity tends to be the most threatened of all types of biodiversity. In this episode I speak with Jenny Day about the state of freshwater biodiversity in South Africa's drought-prone Southwestern Cape, and elsewhere in the world. We get into how it coexists with humankind’s need for water.

Jenny is emeritus professor of freshwater ecology at the University of Cape Town, where she was also Director of the Freshw...

Mark as Played

Much has been written about why we wish to protect nature. The initial motivation for conservation was ostensibly for nature's own sake. Around the 1980s, the concept of ecosystem services began to highlight  ways in which we depend on nature, as a motivation for conservation. Ecosystem services and similar concepts now dominate the discourse. But do they adequately describe our relationship with nature?

Sharachchandra Lele (or...

Mark as Played

People from various walks of life have an affinity to nature. Why is that, and why is nature important to us? This episode is less of an inquiry and more of a ramble through this topic, with one of the most nature-loving, inspiring and interesting people I know. 

Steven Lowe is is a high school science teacher in the UK. But he started as a cardiovascular cell biology researcher, after earning his PhD in that subject. In between tho...

Mark as Played

Why has environmentalism  come to be considered a left-wing  agenda, even though much of its history has conservative roots? And what does it even mean to be conservative when it comes to conservation and environmental issues?

Quill Robinson has some ideas about this. He is Vice President of Government Affairs for the American Conservation Coalition, and spends much of his time in Congress advocating for what he considers pragmatic,...

Mark as Played

Most conservationists are motivated by the purpose of their work. But that work often involves a lot of struggle and it can be daunting, especially when one does not yet have the experience of hard-won success to draw inspiration from. So, how do we keep going when the odds seem stacked against us?

Grant Pearsell and Widar Narvelo both recently retired from decades-long, pioneering careers in urban conservation - Widar at ...

Mark as Played

Popular Podcasts

    Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

    Crime Junkie

    If you can never get enough true crime... Congratulations, you’ve found your people.

    CounterClock

    In order to tell the story of a crime, you have to turn back time. Every season, Investigative journalist Delia D'Ambra digs deep into a mind-bending mystery with the hopes of reigniting interest in a decades old homicide case.

    Morbid

    It’s a lighthearted nightmare in here, weirdos! Morbid is a true crime, creepy history and all things spooky podcast hosted by an autopsy technician and a hairstylist. Join us for a heavy dose of research with a dash of comedy thrown in for flavor.

    20/20

    Unforgettable true crime mysteries, exclusive newsmaker interviews, hard-hitting investigative reports and in-depth coverage of high profile stories.

Advertise With Us

For You

    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

    Connect

    © 2023 iHeartMedia, Inc.