Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs


Species endangerment has so far been addressed mostly by biologists. It is now important to involve social scientists, inasmuch as the problems are man caused. The history of our attitudes, our uses of the land, and the reasons wherefore are problems for everyone.
The evidence suggests that the causes of endangerment may be grouped under (1) direct and indirect exploitation of resources, and (2) population displacement by modern agriculture, with consequent migration to the city or to the forest frontier, where accelerated forest destruction is the result. The displaced people are part of the marginalized two-thirds of the human race and will destroy what is left of nature in order to survive unless we help them become self-sufficient.
Such a refocusing of Western civilization, which has so far been parasitic on nature and a marginalized humanity, will require a new world view by the dominant one-third of us, perhaps based on Whiteheadean philosophy, wherein we accept a participatory role in a complex of processes that evolve from one another.