[MARMAM] Article on Mindful Conservation

Fabian Ritter; MEER e.V. ritter at m-e-e-r.de
Fri Oct 21 04:37:28 PDT 2022

Dear Marmamers,

with great pleasure I want to make you aware of a current article 
reflecting on marine mammal conservation in a more holistic manner. This 
article is based on my talk at this year's Annual Conference of the 
European Cetacean Society (ECS), which many of you have encouraged me to 
publish "poperly". Luckily, /Advances in Marine Biology/ accepted the 
article to be included as an editorial to its latest volume:

  Ritter, F. - _Marine mammal conservation in the 21st century: A plea
  for a paradigm shift towards mindful conservation. /Advances in Marine
  Biology/, ISSN 0065-2881, https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.amb.2022.09.001

_Abstract:_ Marine mammals are regarded in high esteem by the general 
public, and are recognized as flagship species for conservation, while 
at the same time they suffer from anthropogenic impacts on a global 
scale, and often in extreme ways. It seems there is a huge discrepancy 
between how we humans think about our fellow creatures in the sea, and 
how we behave to impact and/or conserve them. Here, I examine why the 
purely scientific and thus intellectual approach to marine mammal 
conservation has had limited success over the past decades. While there 
are some obvious success stories in cetacean conservation, the situation 
today is, for many species and populations, more dire than it has ever 
been. The idea of ‘we need to know more’—a credo of the scientific 
community—often is politically misrepresented to postpone necessary 
conservation decisions. To adapt our path towards more profound and, 
importantly, more effective marine conservation, as conservationists we 
need to go deeper and change the narrative of separation, i.e., the 
concept of humans being set apart from the rest of nature. Instead, 
there is a need to create a narrative of connectedness, i.e., the 
consciousness of humans being an integral part of the planetary system. 
Rather than telling horror stories about the plight of marine mammals, 
conservationists also need to trigger positive emotions about them in 
ourselves. More holistic aspects of conservation need to be incorporated 
in our future efforts, including the fuller integration of traditional 
knowledge and indigenous wisdom, recognizing ecosystem functions of 
marine life and protecting the processes they sustain, respecting 
‘holiness’ of nature while focusing on the animals’ individuality, 
personhood and the cultural identity of distinct cetacean communities. 
Effective marine mammal conservation will be possible only on the basis 
of a profound change of our own values and a fundamental change of the 
societal system(s) we are living in.

This link will bring you to the website where the article can be _viewed 
and downloaded freely until 06 December 2022_. No sign up, registration 
or fees are required.


Best wishes to all,



Fabian Ritter

M.E.E.R. e.V.
Bundesallee 123
D-12161 Berlin

T +49-(0)30-644 97 230
ritter at m-e-e-r.de


"The dolphins were having a great relaxed
time and there were no major answers
they wished to have the questions to."
-after Douglas Adams-
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