Biodiversity and Democracy: Rethinking Society and Nature

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UBC Press, 2000 - Nature - 237 pages
2 Reviews
The world's species, genes, and ecosystems are going extinct at an alarming and unprecedented rate, largely as a result of human activities. If this trend continues, human civilization itself is at risk. Yet we remain either unaware or unconcerned. In Biodiversity and Democracy, Paul Wood looks at this dilemma from another perspective. He argues that the problem can be traced back to how we think about both biodiversity and democratic societies. He examines the concept of biodiversity, recasting it as an essential environmental condition that is being irreversibly depleted, not a biological resource that can simply be replaced. He then demonstrates how democratic policies cater to short-term public preferences, with little or no concern for the long term.

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For a thorough-going analysis of Rawls's theory of justice (with revisionary recommendations) applied to the issue of intergenerational bioresources conservation, see (at least) chapter 6. If an incisive reading of Wood's stance on this issue doesn't strike a meaningful nerve, that would be surprising. Environmental policy-related books operating at this level of engagement are rare and much needed. From a future-positive investments perspective, if species diversity and biological conservation largely constitute "capital" worth "accumulating" then let's get busy saving. Essential reading (and thinking).  

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Biodiversity and Democracy; Rethinking Society and Nature is an interesting and provocative narrative of the evermore apparent need for balance between humankind and nature. Paul M. Wood explores the issue of biodiversity across the globe, presenting a thorough analysis of our current land-use decision model, and the resultant effects on species and ecosystems. This book provides an excellent resource for students, professors, or stakeholders involved in land-use decision making and environmental sciences. In reviewing this book criterion include: background of the author; overall content; organization; and personal reflections. In brief, this book is a challenging read, often logically cumbersome, but an excellent resource for better understanding issues of biodiversity and the potential implications on democratic societies.
Author Paul Wood, is currently a professor specialized in forest resource management at the University of British Columbia. He presents a unique perspective, addressing how land-use decision making is carried out within the forestry sector. His findings are also applicable to promoting greater environmental well-being. Woods has a background in biology, philosophy, and political theory; this is evident with the thorough and coherent arguments presented. For many years Wood served as a conservation policy consultant for the province of British Columbia and multiple timber-firms. The varied experience and academic background is reflected in the writing style. The tone of the book adds great significance of the greater societal implications of biodiversity loss – adding a sense of urgency to the issue...
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An Environmental Condition
Utility Maximization
Economic Efficiency
Consensus among Stakeholders
The Costs of Biodiversity Conservation

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About the author (2000)

Paul M. Wood is assistant professor in the Department of Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia.

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