I was just reading my newly acquired book titled 'Conservation Psychology: understanding and promoting human care for nature', which will hopefully inspire a more serious (or at least more informed) post in this blog later on... but so far, it got my mind going and I might not be able to go to sleep before I scribble some words here.
I'm not sure I can determine what it is about biological diversity that I deem so valuable, intriguing and worth keeping. Very logically, it's hard for me to understand that other people just don't give a dam about it. But then, there are also things other people value, that I just don't give a dam about...
A few months ago I read a paper by William Sutherland (Nature, 273-279, 15 May 2003) where he paralleled the extinction risk of birds and mammals to the one of human languages. Using the same criteria we use to determine the risk of extinction of living organisms, he found that human languages are a far more a threatened 'group' than either birds or mammals. But (I thought then)...who cares about human languages going extinct??
Also a few months ago I moved to Oxford to read for a Master's degree, and I was lucky enough to end up in a class with people from very far distant places of the world. I've been enriched and surprised by listening to their perspectives (new for me) on environmental problems and, at the same time, by how similar we all are. It has opened a whole new world for me. So maybe that's what I find so valuable about diversity (of butterflies, languages, cultures): all that we DON'T know...and then we know it. That makes the world a richer and somehow infinite place.