Challenging Value Systems in Conservation

Conservation has its roots in an ethic which emphasised aesthetic and moral reasons for conservation but recently, greater attention has been given to identifying the economic value of biodiversity and market-based conservation mechanisms. However, individuals may support conservation for many reasons, such as the emotional value they place on a particular species or place. Alternatively, the relevance of biodiversity to daily life and the essential goods and services that ecosystems provide may not be understood. Motivating individuals to take action on biodiversity requires a shift in their values, so that they also value species and habitats. Motivating religious or faith communities requires challenging them to think how their worldview relates to pressing environmental challenges, and building support for conservation amongst indigenous peoples could be achieved by appealing to their value systems. Additionally, economic growth and resource consumption continue to grow, putting even more pressure on our planet. Challenging the underlying belief of many that ´having more makes you happier´ is essential if current trends in biodiversity loss are to be reversed.
This workshop will explore the role of ´values´ in motivating people to get involved in conservation. It will examine current debates about the economic value of biodiversity and whether the current emphasis on this area is motivating more to get involved or whether it is being stressed at the expense of other important motivational values (e.g. emotional, spiritual and cultural). The workshop will be presented as a debate in order to stimulate discussion. A number of high profile speakers with differing perspectives will be invited to give prepared answers to one or more propositions to stimulate debate with the audience. An example proposition is:
This House believes that: "commoditising nature reinforces a materialistic culture which is a major driver of biodiversity loss"

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