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The case for conservation podcast

A monthly Science, Nature and Natural Sciences podcast
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Episodes of The case for conservation podcast

After decades of struggling for recognition, environmental issues, including biodiversity conservation, have exploded onto the global scene in recent years. This is incredibly encouraging and gratifying, but are we sufficiently aware of the ris
After decades of struggling for recognition, environmental issues, including biodiversity conservation, have exploded onto the global scene in recent years. This is incredibly encouraging and gratifying, but are we sufficiently aware of the ris
This month, for the first time, I am the interviewee rather than the interviewer. This episode was recorded for the BioScience Talks podcast, which is the podcast of the journal BioScience, which recently published an article that I co-authored
Covid-19 has, probably more than anything, ever, made science communication a matter of public interest. A couple of weeks before recording this episode, the journal BioScience published an article that I co-authored, which takes a critical loo
Cities - even the greenest of them - replace nature with glass, concrete and asphalt. And their footprint extends far beyond their boundaries to provide for the needs of the thousands, millions, or ten of millions of people concentrated within
Few technologies are viewed with as much suspicion as genetic modification. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are banned in several parts of the world; an entire protocol under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is dedicated to co
This episode is about environmental alarmism. Alarmism means exaggerating danger and thereby causing needless worry or panic. These days the media is flooded with proclamations and predictions of ecological catastrophe. There is no doubt that o
Most people outside Africa probably don’t associate trophy hunting with conservation. In fact, certain publicized incidents of trophy hunting have caused something of a global moral panic. The same often goes for the culling of animal populatio
In 1975, biologist Paul Ehrlich said that 90% of tropical rainforests would be lost by about 2005. Although their loss has continued at a steady rate, by 2019 the figure was more like 32%. Also in the 1970s, ecologist Kenneth Watt forecast a wo
Renewable energy is one of the great hopes of humankind when it comes to addressing the threat of climate change and some forms of pollution. Thanks to technological advances it’s now become cost-effective enough to compete with non-renewable e
It’s widely agreed that one of our greatest global environmental challenges is the impact of fisheries on the oceans. Aquaculture, practiced at a small scale around the world and especially in Asia for centuries, emerged decades ago as a potent
Freshwater biodiversity tends to be the most threatened of all types of biodiversity. In this episode I speak with Jenny Day about the state of freshwater biodiversity in South Africa's drought-prone Southwestern Cape, and elsewhere in the worl
Much has been written about why we wish to protect nature. The initial motivation for conservation was ostensibly for nature's own sake. Around the 1980s, the concept of ecosystem services began to highlight  ways in which we depend on nature,
People from various walks of life have an affinity to nature. Why is that, and why is nature important to us? This episode is less of an inquiry and more of a ramble through this topic, with one of the most nature-loving, inspiring and interest
Why has environmentalism  come to be considered a left-wing  agenda, even though much of its history has conservative roots? And what does it even mean to be conservative when it comes to conservation and environmental issues?Quill Robinson has
Most conservationists are motivated by the purpose of their work. But that work often involves a lot of struggle and it can be daunting, especially when one does not yet have the experience of hard-won success to draw inspiration from. So, how
There is a lot in the media these days about how protecting biodiversity reduces the risk of zoonotic disease spillover, and hence the risk of epidemics and pandemics. There seems to be  a lot of good evidence for this in published studies on t
The scientific method remains the best systematic approach we have been able to develop in our ongoing endeavor to advance human flourishing. But that does not mean it's perfect - indeed, it probably never will be. But what are the ways in whic
These days some very impressive-sounding conservation projects are catching the public eye, from massive tree-planting initiatives to high-profile urban greening. They capture the headlines and they capture the imagination. But do they deserve
Protected areas like nature reserves and national parks are about the most fundamental manifestation of nature conservation there is, and have existed in various forms for centuries. But are they achieving what they are meant to achieve? Does f
Many Western nations have been undergoing a period of intense reflection on issues of discrimination. Recent incidents have re-ignited social movements like Black Lives Matter. Public intellectuals are addressing the topic with a variety of opi
Indigenous peoples and local communities are increasingly recognized for the importance of their contribution to global biodiversity knowledge. But is indigenous & local knowledge (ILK) being vetted, in a parallel to peer review's vetting of sc
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 lands
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 potentia
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