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Today's Great Challenge

Michael Soulé, biologist
The Wildlands Project

Today's greatest challenge is 'saving the world.' Most people think this means ending war, poverty, disease, and injustice. Others think it means recovering our moral compass. Still others view the world through the lens of some ideology, and salvation for them means ridding the world of some evil group of enemies. These diverse notions have one thing in common-human beings are at the center. Modern people equate 'the world' with humanity and civilization. The other world—nature—has virtually vanished from modern consciousness, except when it affects us directly, as when the weather is uncomfortable, or when we hit a tree. For a minority, however, 'saving the world' means protecting nature from human beings. Humanity will destroy most of the other life forms on Earth during the 50 years, along with 95% of the wild places. 'Access' and 'development' are destroying the real, original world.

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