Conservation, of course, is a big part of Yellowstone’s lifeblood. More so, it is the driving pulse, the central palpitation. Every trip to the park is a lesson in conservation. Yellowstone, you could say, has an ecological conscience. “What is an ecological conscience?” you may be asking yourself. Well – we must look to Aldo Leopold, the father of modern wildlife conservation.
In the classic A Sand County Almanac, Leopold writes, “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land. Despite nearly a century of propaganda, conservation still proceeds at a snail’s pace; progress still consists largely of letterhead pieties and convention oratory. On the back forty we still slip two steps backward for each forward stride.” Here, Leopold lays down the groundwork for conservation by defining it. It is simple, clear-cut, and effective. Although published in 1949, Leopold has gripes with bureaucratic inefficiencies in addressing the environment. What would Leopold have to say about today’s governmental processes?
While Leopold argues that the answer to this bureaucratic quandary is, in his words, “more conservation education”, he understands that there also needs to be a fundamental change within the human soul. He writes, “No important change in ethics was ever accomplished without an internal change in our intellectual emphasis, loyalties, affections, and convictions. […] In our attempt to make conservation easy, we have made it trivial.” We need to view conservation the same way we view breathing, something we do without even thinking – an essential part of day-to-day life. All of us must possess an ecological conscience. We have to try our hardest not to breathe. Even then, we will not last long. We will certainly perish. The same holds true for conservation. Conservation must become a part of our day-to-day activities, the central palpitation. This habit will affect our loyalties, affections, and convictions. Government policy worldwide would soon follow. What say you?
At Yellowstone Safari Co., we help nurture the ecological conscience. Our guided tours are sure to change the mind and affect the heart!