All life on Earth has the right to exist, but as we teeter on the verge of a sixth extinction this book discusses why biodiversity matters and why we should care if species go extinct.
We are witnessing the largest and fastest rate of extinction in the history of the planet. While the concept of rights is a human one, all plants and animals strive to survive, and this book argues for their rights to continue doing so without being driven into premature extinction by human actions. Acknowledging and describing the practical reasons for conserving biodiversity, this book argues that these should not overshadow the compelling ethical reasons to care about the future of species other than our own. However, the issues are complex. What do we do when faced with an immediate ethical choice where human rights, economic development and ecosystem survival all get mixed up together? There are seldom hard and fast answers but thinking about and understanding a variety of points of view will help us make informed trade-offs. Drawing on his vast practical experience, the author presents insightful perspectives and real-world examples with the hope that this book will instigate a much-needed rethink about why and how we practice conservation.
Why Biodiversity Matters is essential reading for all those concerned with sustaining our planet, and all who inhabit it, in the face of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss and ecological collapse.
1. Introduction: Do species matter? Laying out the case
2. The concept of biodiversity
3. The concept of rights
4. What are biodiversity rights?
5. What are the utilitarian arguments for protecting biodiversity?
6. Rights in Conflict
7. Rights in synergy
8. What do others say?
9. Current protection of biodiversity rights
10. Is my way the best way?
11. What should our role be now?
Nigel Dudley is a consultant ecologist who has worked with international organisations, including WWF International, IUCN and UNESCO. He is co-founder of Equilibrium Research and an Industry Fellow in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is the author/editor of numerous titles, including co-author of Leaving Space for Nature (Routledge, 2020) and Arguments for Protected Areas (Routledge, 2010), and Authenticity in Nature (Routledge, 2011).