Cassandra, the daughter of the Trojan King Priam, was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo. When she deceived him, he turned this into a curse by causing her prophecies, though true, to be disbelieved. Having prophesied the death of Agamemnon, she was killed with him, by Clytemnestra ( Knowles 2000 ). Our discipline, conservation biology, was founded over 20 years ago out of a sense of despair felt by a group of visionary scientists deeply concerned about the destructive impact of human beings on the natural world. These founding fathers, coming mostly from the biological sciences, were driven by what they saw as the failures of the field to halt environmental degradation, or indeed even to maintain the very subjects they had spent much of their lives studying. To raise the consciousness of an uninterested world preoccupied with famine, the cold war, and a global recession, they framed their position in stark terms. They used powerful phrasing to describe the dismantling of nature, such as “the sixth extinction,”“the population bomb,”“the end of nature,” and “the extinction vortex.” It was in this forge of despair, using the fire of public attention, that conservation biology was wrought as a
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2003
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