#17 Around the Campfire; Where are the Teeth? – The Rewilding Institute 2007 Update
Dear Rewilding Supporter
Where are the teeth?
Harry Greene, a noted zoologist and conservationist at Cornell University, pointed out something to me last month. Conservationists use a lot of images of big cats, wolves, bears, and other carnivores. But in nearly every case, the mouths of the carnivores are closed. In other words, where are the teeth? Do we unconsciously use photos of pumas and wolves that make them look like pussycats and puppy dogs in our zeal to make them appear attractive and
nonthreatening to people? In order to “sell” wildeors (wild animals) to the public, do we de-wild their images?
This got me to thinking further. Do we conservationists end up de-wilding ourselves by softening how we portray the critters we work to protect? Do we need to ask, “Where are our teeth?”
I can promise you one thing. Neither The Rewilding Institute nor I will hide our teeth. When necessary we will snarl and even bite. What this really means is that The Rewilding Institute will not hide, disguise, or prettify what we believe, what we propose, what the problems are and how bad they are, who to blame for the problems, and the essential solutions.
The Rewilding Institute is a Nature conservation organization. Period. We work to protect and restore wild species, wild habitats, and the flow and dance of evolution. No apologies. No contortions to pretend that we are defending Nature to benefit people (even though, of course, people do benefit from protecting wild Nature).
We believe that wild Nature is its own justification for being, that wildeors exist for themselves, and that we must protect and restore wildeors for their own sake, whether or not there are benefits to people.
We propose visions for the protection and restoration of wildeors, including wolves, pumas, jaguars, wolverines, and other keystone species.
We recognize that the problem is a mass extinction imperiling life forms throughout the living world.
We recognize the bad news that this mass extinction is real. It is speeding up, it is sweeping and vast in its impact, and its dreadful consequences will last for millions of years.
We will not shy away from saying that human beings are causing this mass extinction with our exploding population gobbling up the wild Earth and flooding our biosphere with our waste, including greenhouse gases.
We will unwaveringly stand up for the most important tools for preventing species extinction and habitat loss: strictly protected areas, stabilization and lowering of human population, and greatly reducing our waste products.
It’s time for conservation without apology. It’s time to show the teeth.
Please click on the attachment below to read the entire “Campfire.”
Dave Foreman is the founder of The Rewilding Institute, co-founder of The Wildlands Project and Earth First!, and author of several acclaimed books on wildlands conservation. Books: Rewilding North America | Man Swarm: How Overpopulation Is Killing The WIld World | Take Back Conservation …among several other Rewilding books you can find here. [Photo: Dave Foreman in the barren grounds of Nunavit, Canada © Nancy Morton]