A thought provoking quote about conservation

I recently heard an excellent quote about conservation issues. The source of this quote is, of all people, my new home state’s embattled Governor. Mark Sanford, prior to his “hiking the Appalachian Trail” scandal, was a well-respected small government conservative. During a speech about his views, he stated that “the issue of environmental conservation sits squarely on the battle line between government and liberty.”

I really believe that, and too few other environmentalists seem to agree. Although we usually have the best of intentions, every time we make a new conservation policy, the government is telling citizens that they can’t do something. Every time the government tells citizens that we can’t do something, we all lose a little freedom.

I’m certainly not advocating that we stop making new policies to protect the environment. All I’m saying is that it would be nice if more people recognized the human impact of some of these policies instead of demonizing people like fisherman and developers.



  1. marie-ora · March 2, 2010

    ‘Every time the government tells citizens that we can’t do something, we all lose a little freedom.’ That is unnerving….

  2. Bluegrass Blue Crab · March 2, 2010

    I would agree with you about the majority of conservation policies, which lie well within the command-and-control philosophy of policy. However, within newer policies and think tanks coming up with future conservation plans, there is explicit understanding that these don’t work precisely because they remove the human factor. But humans don’t go away – they tend to fight back – and that energy could be put to better use as stewards of their community, including any environmental factors they care about.

  3. Carolyn Hopper · March 2, 2010

    I used to live in Annapolis,MD. Phillips restaurant imported “blue crabs” from China and tried to bill them as being from the Chesapeake. The “beautiful swimmers” need protecting and sensible fishing practices. Balancing tourists hungry for crabs while visiting “crab town”, caring for the creatures and the health of the water in the Bay will be a challenge for a long time.

    Having said that, I do miss having a nice crab dinner once in a while now that I live in the mountains.

  4. Craig Nazor · March 7, 2010

    As the human population grows, and there are more and more humans fighting to hoard (obtain more than is necessary for survival) increasingly limited resources, human “freedoms” will have to become more limited. How could they not? Waste becomes increasingly more damaging to your fellow human, either because the waste affects you neighbor because it is pollution, or you waste a resource that is in short supply that your neighbor may desperately need. So what do you value -things or experiences? What are your expectations – the ability to easily become rich, or your ability to lead a rich life? These are not the same thing.

    Look back into your past, and see what you have been taught. We are all taught (or are eventually forced to acquire) different expectations about life. I believe that this is the primary cause of disagreements about this political question.

    What “freedoms” would you be willing to give up to save a species or an ecosystem? Increasing human population is really going to make it come down to that, in my opinion.

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