Diversity Needs Protection

“The natural environment is both example and metaphor of the theme that has threaded through the various arguments of this book: the dignity of difference – the insistence that what is most precious in our world, and constantly at risk, is diversity itself.”

“In some ways this is a relatively recent discovery. We are more aware than any previous generation of how much our existence depends on the presence of other species, which produce food we eat and the oxygen we breathe, absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale, sustain the fertility of the soil and provide the raw materials we need. Those species in turn depend on others; and others still may, in ways yet unknown, turn out to contain vitally important antibiotics or other medicinal agents – forty per cent of all medicines used today depend on substances originally extracted from plants, fungi, animals and micro-organisms.”

“We are beginning to understand how complex and interdependent bio-systems are, and how unpredictable the consequences are of the destruction of a species or habitat. Diversity needs protection.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 149