The founders of ecology and hybrid fields like conservation biology intended these to be revolutionary enterprises that joined good science with the application of knowledge (Sears 1964; Shepard and McKinley 1969; Soule 1986). In the intervening years these fields have indeed come a long way. But as academic endeavors, these disci plines are situated within institutions that have yet to demonstrate a substantial commitment to an ecologically viable future. Ours is the age-old problem of trying to put new wine into old wineskins: we have a revolutionary credo about human responsibilities for the natural world, but we mostly work in institutions still dedicated to the task of extending human mastery over the world. I know of no one solution for this problem, but there are things that can be done to expand the ecological imagination of our students, to stretch their sense of possibilities, and to connect them to people changing the world.

Postscript: The fellowship described here has been created by the Compton Foundation, Menlo Park, California. The first class of fellowship recipients will begin their terms in Spring 2002.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment