Sometimes when I get going about my beloved heritage breed pigs or my sustainable seafood issues, people will wonder (I can see it in their eyes, and sometimes they even ask out loud) why does it matter if we keep a diversity of species around? What would be the problem with only one kind of pig being available? Why should we care about all these fish we never see anyway?
There are many answers, answers that touch on values across the spectrum, from naked self interest to some more altruistic goals.
Here is an interesting argument put forth by a Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Chivian, of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. I first learned of this center when I was doing outreach for Teach a Man to Fish.
The Center's staff run numerous projects aimed a bringing conservation and sustainable food issues into the dialog about public health. Dr. Chivian recently published a book "Sustaining Life" which addresses biodiversity.
Nobel Laureate Explores Links Between Climate Change, Biodiversity (click to go to PBS where clip, MP3 and transcript are available.)
Have a look and listen. What do you think? Drop a comment, I'd like to know.
Do you think people will be more motivated to change behavior (buying, eating, etc) when they understand public health, and personal health connections? Or, do you think people are motivated by higher aspirations? Is it a bit of both?