Sleeping with the Enemy

It’s strange to see a subject you know a lot about treated by another journalist. “Green is Good,” T.D. Max’s story mostly about The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the May 12 New Yorker, starts out covering TNC’s current strategy to partner with big polluters to get them to mitigate in the interest of their own bottom lines. But a big part of Max’s narrative focuses on the philosophical kerfuffle TNC scientist Peter Kareiva set off a couple of years ago when with Michelle Marvier and Robert Lalasz he published “Conservation in the Anthropocene” in Breakthrough Journal. In sum, Kareiva et al. said that conservation strategies to protect parks and other discrete areas is essentially misguided.

Facts of Life

“What is citizen science?” I’m at my desk in San Francisco, on a conference call. Surrounded by books and papers and a cup of cold coffee, and otherwise writing a book on what some people call “public participation in scientific research.” Past my computer screen on the deck outside, a hummingbird zips around a passiflora. I think about going outside to count hummingbirds while I’m on the phone, then figure I’d better wait and do it more carefully. I have had lots of conversations and written lots of overviews and proposals about citizen science for the group I’m talking to, half of whom are in Arizona and half in Washington State. So everybody chuckles a little bit at the question, wh

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