Nature Needs Half in Sanctuary Asia Magazine

Article by Vance G. Martin, president of The WILD Foundation, originally published in Sanctuary Asia Magazine, December 2010

We have one life, you got to do what you should.
One life, with each other… sisters, brothers.
One life, but we’re not the same, we got to
carry each other, carry each other.
(One, U2, 1992)

© Morgan Heim

What does everyone have in common? Needs. As environmentalists we are more than aware of those who regard nature solely as a commodity and who pursue their “needs” through a worldview that sees nothing in natural land/seascapes except money-making opportunities – logging, mining, fishing, real estate development, agriculture and more.

The catch-all term for such needy people is “developer.” In reality these pursuits are as old as humans are and are of course not inherently bad – natural resource use is an essential and necessary activity. However, unchecked, over-exploitive natural resource use creates a hydra-headed demon whose faces are population growth, consumerism, technological advances, human greed and poverty. The result is before us in the currently unfolding rampant, destructive and ultimately suicidal attack on wild nature that sustains all life on Earth.

As concerned and engaged environmentalists, we love nature and we dedicate our lives and work to protecting her from such flagrant disregard and abuse.

But let’s look at some of our own needs of a different sort. Yes, we all have nature-based needs, even those of us who try to manage our consumerism, carbon footprint, and the like. We might be mountain-bikers lobbying for more trails in a national park so we can do our thing in nature without bothering hikers on existing trails. We may be fishermen who want a new stream or coral reef opened up or the catch limit extended.

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