I was pleased to see conservation psychology mentioned in Bruce Barcott’s "The Rancher and the Grizzly" (Winter 2007). Psychology is underrepresented in the study of environmental issues, but a growing group of psychologists is working to promote a sustainable relationship between humans and the rest of nature. Conservation psychologists are now applying insights from the field of conflict resolution to encourage cooperation in the service of environmental goals.
Professor of Psychology
The College of Wooster
Neither the polar bear nor the grizzly is as large as the American bison, which can weigh more than 2,000 pounds. Thus, contrary to Barcott’s assertion, the griz is only the third-largest land animal, or the second-largest predator, in the Americas. Even so, the grizzly should keep its protections until habitat and food concerns are resolved.
Two articles in your Winter 2007 issue suggest there are two ways for environmentalists to pick stocks. We can buy shares in green companies ("My Money Is Greener Than Your Money," by Carol Vinzant), or we can put our money into companies that are less green, in order to use our shareholder power to change their actions ("Shareholders Go In Swinging," by Laura Wright). The former may feel good, but if a company is already doing good, what is achieved by buying its stock? It seems we should invest in businesses that are on the wrong course, and then push them to change.
I was delighted to read "Waste Not Want Not" in the Winter 2007 issue. In my hometown there is a group called Sharing Resources Worldwide that recycles medical equipment and supplies, ships them overseas, and saves lives. They even sponsor a wheelchair-repair shop in Nicaragua. Over the past two years, they have sent more than three dozen 40-foot containers -- filled with everything from wheelchairs and anesthesia machines to gauze and IV fluids -- to those in need.
I agree with Frances Beinecke's assessment that wind power must be a part of our energy future (View From NRDC, Winter 2007). She writes that "when offshore projects are proposed, residents often oppose them." The Cape Wind project in Massachusetts is a prime example. However, to characterize opposition to Cape Wind as mere NIMBYism on the part of well-heeled residents does not move us closer to a solution. Concerns about the adverse effects the project could have on the local economy (by hampering tourism, recreation, and fishing) and navigational safety should not be trivialized. I have no ocean view to worry about and I support wind power, but I also believe that there is reason to oppose Cape Wind.
Frances Beinecke responds:Dismissing opposition to Cape Wind as little more than wealthy people protecting their views does trivialize the debate. However, both the project's environmental review and studies of offshore wind farms in Europe suggest that Cape Wind would not harm tourism or fishing and would create new construction jobs. In a recent review of five years' worth of monitoring data from two of its largest offshore projects, Denmark concluded that "offshore wind farms have had very little impact on the environment." The U.S. Coast Guard's preliminary assessment is that there is no navigational safety threat.