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The Last Extinction

From a chapter called "Life in the Next Millennium," by David Ehrenfeld

"To conclude, we know what our distant ancestors did not know; we can change the world utterly and completely. In the face of this, neither of the classical varieties of conservation, protection or management, can by itself save the world's fauna and flora. Nevertheless, they are both vitally necessary as a holding action to save what can be saved until such time, soon or far off, when humanity adopts a way of life in harmony with other life forms on the planet. If and when that happens, we will necessarily be living in a world characterized by ecological management--stewardship is an appropriate description--so I judge that the managerial type of conservation will predominate. Yet even in such a world there will always remain unknowns and imponderables, many things beyond our control and understanding, and it is for this reason that simple protection, which makes no assumption of human omniscience, will continue be an occasional choice of a society concerned with the fate of other species.

For all this, it cannot be denied that, before we can begin the days of stewardship, we must first end and leave behind the age of exploitation, which is still very much with us. We can only pray that the passage comes soon and that it is a peaceful one--soon, while there is still much to safeguard; peaceful, so that we can have a fair chance to prove our worth as stewards."