Exploring Biodiversity as a Cultural Value

16 June 2014, 12-2pm

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Room 148, RC Mills Building, A26, University of Sydney.


The issue of biodiversity loss evokes complex questions of value. To whom does extinction matter, why, and how?

The considerable reduction in biodiversity over recent decades is an issue with less immediately obvious consequences for humans than the dramatic risks associated with climate change. Rising sea levels will render millions of people homeless, but the decline in the global number of species conveys more subtle and ambiguous dangers. There may be significant unforeseen consequences to the loss of some organisms (as became evident with the recent collapse of the South Asian vulture population), but the loss of others may have no apparent consequences for humans at all. It seems abundantly clear that human cultures rely on pollinators such as bees, but would they really miss the pygmy three-toed sloth?

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