Exporting Environmentalism

SCHALLER – Exporting EnvironmentalismCelebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here’s a program from our archives.Ambience: Tibetan songWe’re listening to a Tibetan song about a Buddhist saint who urges a hunter not to kill an animal. Sometimes, when western environmentalists are working overseas, they may turn to local religious ideas – such as the theme of this song – to help support their conservation efforts. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.(Schaller) “America has had a frontier only a hundred years ago. We feel a relation to it. We think it is a link to our past. We have been exporting our conservation ideas throughout the world, and one problem is that these ideas are not tied to local traditions.” George Schaller is director of science at Wildlife Conservation International.(Schaller)”When we go to Thailand or to China, wherever, and talk about conservation, unless you somehow make the people feel that it has relevance to them, whether it is on a religious basis or a cultural basis, you cannot get very far. For example, most Chinese have for several thousand years lived in an environment which is wall to wall fields. To them, a piece of wilderness is a pagoda with a dozen pine trees around it. So if you start talking about wilderness, and my ancient roots to it, they hear you, but they don’t understand you. So unless the conservation message is tied to something other than our western ideas only, you have difficulty in making progress.”This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Exporting Environmentalism

George Schaller cautions western environmentalists to consider local traditions. This archival program is part of Pulse of the Planet's 30th anniversary celebration.
Air Date:05/23/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

SCHALLER - Exporting EnvironmentalismCelebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here's a program from our archives.Ambience: Tibetan songWe're listening to a Tibetan song about a Buddhist saint who urges a hunter not to kill an animal. Sometimes, when western environmentalists are working overseas, they may turn to local religious ideas - such as the theme of this song - to help support their conservation efforts. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.(Schaller) "America has had a frontier only a hundred years ago. We feel a relation to it. We think it is a link to our past. We have been exporting our conservation ideas throughout the world, and one problem is that these ideas are not tied to local traditions." George Schaller is director of science at Wildlife Conservation International.(Schaller)"When we go to Thailand or to China, wherever, and talk about conservation, unless you somehow make the people feel that it has relevance to them, whether it is on a religious basis or a cultural basis, you cannot get very far. For example, most Chinese have for several thousand years lived in an environment which is wall to wall fields. To them, a piece of wilderness is a pagoda with a dozen pine trees around it. So if you start talking about wilderness, and my ancient roots to it, they hear you, but they don't understand you. So unless the conservation message is tied to something other than our western ideas only, you have difficulty in making progress."This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.