The case for conservation podcast

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One of the challenges facing certain surgical procedures is how to glue tissue in a wet environment. The sandcastle worm (Phragmatopoma californica) solved a similar problem millions of years ago, and we have managed to mimic the recipe.
Invasive alien species are considered one of the five main direct drivers of biodiversity loss, worldwide, as well as causing untold damage to economic assets like agriculture. Is there ever anything to be said for accepting them into the landscapes or seascapes they've occupied? And what about non-invasive alien species, and invasive native species? Martin Schlaepfer is an ecologist and senior lecturer at the University of Geneva. He has diverse experience across the field of conservation biology in North America and Europe.Links to resources can be found at 
We conserve nature ultimately for our own good - to sustain the benefits that it offers humankind. Curiously, nature's diversity is seldom given the attention it deserves for its role in human flourishing. But every organism has untold potential to help us solve humanity's practical problems. Thousands have already done so. In this first mini episode I overview the issue and explain what to expect in subsequent episodes. Here is a link to the paper quoted in this episode.
Since about 2007 most of the world's population has been living in cities and, if there's one thing we're learning about conservation, it's that people matter. But why do people in cities matter? Why do cities themselves matter? And why are cities not playing a more prominent role in conservation globally?  I ask Debra Roberts, whose experience and skills range from academia to policy to implementation; across local, national and international levels; and in both biodiversity conservation and climate change action. Among many accolades, Debra was recently named one of Apolitico's 100 most influential people in climate policy, alongside the likes of Al Gore and David Attenborough. Despite a high profile at the international level, she continues a long career primarily dedicated to the sustainability of her home city, Durban (eThekwini) in South Africa.Links to resources can be found at 
Uncertainty of outcomes is a feature of conservation. That's perhaps why the "precautionary principle" is held so sacred in this field. But, considering the potential cost of inaction in a rapidly-changing world, are we being a bit too cautious? Michelle Marvier and Peter Kereiva recently tackled this topic, and Michelle discussed it with me on the podcast.Michelle Marvier is a professor in the Department of Environmental Studies & Sciences at Santa Clara University. She has authored and co-authored a textbook in Conservation Science and more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, among them several that challenge some of the less well-supported orthodoxy in biodiversity conservation.Links to resources can be found at 
The conservation of nature and biodiversity is often considered to be a labor of love. After all, why would anyone want to dedicate their career to such a daunting task, which is not known for its moneymaking potential? In the developing world especially, as explained by a previous guest, more lucrative jobs are pursued as a way out of poverty. And yet we need conservationists of all stripes to tackle the biodiversity crisis.Nick Askew is director and founder of Conservation Careers - statistically-speaking the world’s leading advice centre on conservation as a career path. He identified the need for such a platform while working in other areas of conservation, and gradually built the enterprise into a full-time endeavor.Links to resources can be found at 
Ongoing biodiversity loss is most severe in the developing world, but the funding for conservation comes mostly from the developed world. In the past, conservation notoriously ignored the needs of local people. Times have changed, but how well are conservation initiatives working for people and for nature in the developing world now? Mao Amis is a Ugandan conservationist based in South Africa. His PhD is in natural resources management & planning, and his work has focused on various aspects of conservation in developing countries, including community aspects. Mao is founding director of the African Centre for a Green Economy, a capacity building organization supporting the transition to a green economy in east and southern Africa.Links to resources can be found at 
This episode explores the links between nature and COVID-19, and between nature and zoonotic disease in general. We examine the common assertion that the degradation or destruction of ecosystems is a cause of pandemics, and not just correlated with them. David helps to alleviate some (but perhaps not all) of my concerns about the accuracy of the literature on this subject. David Duthie is a conservationist who worked on biodiversity for many years in the United Nations, in Nairobi, Geneva and Montreal. Although he is now retired he remains involved in conservation at the local level, in Oxford, and he has built an electronic library of (at time of writing) almost 75,000 publications related to biodiversity.Links to resources can be found at
In this introduction I explain the purpose of the case for conservation podcast, and outline some basic concepts. I also describe the format that I will be using, and generally try to give the listener some idea of what to expect from subsequent episodes. In all of those subsequent episodes, I will be interviewing guests, and getting into specific topics. My name is André Mader. I am a conservation biologist by training, with a focus mostly on biodiversity policy but an interest in a wide spectrum of topics within and outside conservation. I grew up in South Africa and, thanks to my career, I've been based in various parts of that beautiful country, as well as the Middle East, Canada, Switzerland, and now Japan.
This episode explores the question of whether the conservation message is "getting through" and, "if not, why not"? Communication of this message is necessary because governments, businesses, communities, organizations and individuals need to be aware, and inspired, in order to take action. My guest had some insightful, and surprisingly positive, perspectives on this issue. Tim Hirsch studied history at Cambridge University before embarking on a diverse career, including as environmental correspondent for BBC TV. He is currently deputy director of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), which we discuss at some length during this episode. He has also been centrally responsible for the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO), the 5th edition of which is hot off the press at the time of posting this episode. The GBO is a periodic report that provides a  summary of the global status of biodiversity and an analysis of the  steps being taken to improve that status.  Links to resources can be found at
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Podcast Details

Created by
Podcast Status
Sep 15th, 2020
Latest Episode
Feb 8th, 2021
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
36 minutes

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