By Jamie Steer 24/12/2018

I wanted to end now on a couple of final reflections and thoughts.

First, I implore you as the next generation of ecologists to think critically about the assumptions of your disciplines. Don’t just blindly swallow the positions of your older colleagues, including me (OK, not so much me…).

Restoration Ecology, in particular, was developed and propagated mostly by baby boomers who often still hold very dearly to it, and the assumptions that underpin it. But there’s an old saying that goes something like ‘science progresses one funeral at a time’, and as the boomers head into senescence over the next few decades, discussion in this space is likely going to ramp up.

I’d implore you during this time not to nail your colours to the mast of an older generation; but instead to keep your mind open to new possibilities.

In saying that, you also need to be careful about how you do it; probably more careful than I am. It is, after all, a pretty small industry. And sometimes if you don’t express the views of employers, politicians, and even sometimes the majority views of your colleagues you do put yourself in the line of fire very quickly.

This is the sort of stuff you’ll likely come up against:

‘This employee is actively working against your environmental responsibilities! He should lose his job as his continual media opinion pieces shows he is not up to his role within your organisation!’ (Steven, 2017).

‘Wow… pompous, condescending AND littered with bias and logical fallacies. And to think the writer aspires to a career in science…’ (Hansford, 2016).

People like these take this stuff very very seriously. They take it all very personally, and they’re not afraid to come after you personally if you contradict them as well. So you do, at the end of the day, have to be careful about how you talk about the birds and the bees. And whether that’s right, or whether that makes sense, is sometimes beyond the point.

To end on a more playful note, and because no one can stop talking about this guy, I thought I’d conclude with a little Trump analogy. It doesn’t translate well into text so you’ll have to view the clip if you want to see this part.

The clip refers to a couple of upcoming events as well. Here is a link to the video of the panel discussion on Predator Free 2050 at the Crazy & Ambitious conference (the National Science Challenges). And I’ll look to upload the video for the other talk I gave at Victoria University soon.

The complete video (clips 1-13) for this talk can be found here. Or you can begin at the start of this series.

Featured image: Donald Trump © Flickr


0 Responses to “From Restoration to Reconciliation: Concluding thoughts”

  • I want New Zealand to be a country where all endemic species range across almost all of their historical range because I want to see it happen. Not because some old conservation workers who have been involved in species conservation since before bush wrens went extinct may also want to see it happen. Is that any better?


  • Well done Jamie, on trying to offer those stuck in an archaic paradigm a different worldview. It’s so hard for those who haven’t experienced a broader perspective on life (eg travel or study outside NZ) to see how unhelpful the binary language of NZ is. But the next generation (and skilled migrants) definitely holds our hopes for a new equality of ecological thinking, one based on science not formed from conflicts of interest, and more sustainable too. Here’s to a happy healthy, poison-free 2019 & beyond.

  • Do you notice simons comment is all about what “HE” wants …this insanely selfish attitude to the natural world against what IT wants, is what drives this revolting poisoners mentality .?