Banking on wildlife NGOs

Much has been written, and said, about the dire moral state of banking in the UK.  I find it interesting that moving around bits of paper with numbers written on them should be expected to be a profession of high ethical status but in the old days (about 30 years ago) we are told that ‘my word’ used to be ‘my bond’ whereas now ‘your bond is my bonus’.

Apart from the Cooperative Bank and the Triodos Bank I couldn’t name a bank with any particular moral position on anything.  I can remember boycotting Barclays because of its links with the apartheid South African regime back in the 1970s as a student and that stance doesn’t seem to have led me astray since.  In all those advertisements for banking have I missed the moral messages, or are they just not there? As I say, it’s not really very surprising that they are absent.

But what of those organisations, mostly charities, which might claim a moral high ground?  Can you differentiate between wildlife NGOs in terms of their moral stances? In their advertisements do they sell themselves on their ability to change the world or do good in it – or at least be on the right side in any argument?  Do they tell you what they aim to do and how they aim to do it?

What moral stances would you like to see in your wildlife NGOs, and do you detect them or are you still  looking?

And finally, Spain won Euro 2012 as expected, with the highest coverage of Natura 2012 sites of any country in the competition how could they not?  Take note Roy Hodgson, you should be lobbying government for better environmental performance rather than worrying about Rooney’s strained temper or strained thigh.


6 Replies to “Banking on wildlife NGOs”

  1. I don’t have an answer to which NGOs best express their moral stance but I am certain that, with respect to nature conservation, morality is fundamental to why we should bother at all.
    I am concerned about the recent post Rio proposals to establish a Natural Capital Committee to assess the economic value of the elements that make up our natural environment. I believe that this is very much a double-edged sword: on the one hand we can convincingly argue that it is important to preserve a forest because of the ecosystem services it provides or to save a rare and spectacular bird because of the tourist revenue it draws to the areas where it occurs but accepting this argument implies acceptance of of the flip side that we should not stand in the way if the bullozers are going to wipe out some humble species with no discernible contribution to the monetary economy.
    There are vast numbers of obscure invertebrates, plants, fungi, lichens and so on most of which I have never knowingly seen and never expect to see but I believe that from a moral viewpoint it is as important that we should care about the survival of these as about those higher profile species that grab most of our attention. For many of these species it would be hard to argue for any economic benefit they provide even if we take into account their assumed roles in the overall functioning of wider ecosystems and I am afraid that the inability to assign a monetary value to them could give the Chancellor a green light to condemn at least some of them to oblivion.
    Nature Conservation bodies should use whatever legitimate arguments are at their disposal to protect our wildlife but at heart we should recognise that it is simply immoral to allow our wildlife to be wiped out for short-term economic gain.

    1. Jonathan – you sum up the arguments nicely, thank you. The rainforest can deliver almost all of its ecosystem services without having (m)any tigers. And European agriculture has not collapsed in the absence of the corncrake over much of farmland for more than half a century. What we get from nature is a bunch of services that we should value more (carbon storage, water provision etc) and a bunch of services that cannot easily be values but are nonetheless valuable (eg the song of birds on a spring morning, the sight of a pine marten scurrying across a road etc).

  2. Nice reply to Jonathon Mark.Think all the organisations have good high ideals and are above doing dirty deeds,just that they cannot please everyone all the time.

  3. I firmly believe that The RSPB should ditch the worthless royal charter. The society is hog-tied by this rubbish, which forces it to sit on the fence when confronted by the bloodsports industry. Furthermore, why the hell does it wish to be associated with a woman who financially supports the ******* songbird survival?

  4. I’m not sure I want NGOs to tell me what their aims are and how they’re going to achieve them. They already spend too much time telling us what they think, rather than listening to what other people think. The RSPB and National Trust are much improved in this respect. There used to be an arrogance in the RSPB and I’m pleased to say that this is less evident than previously. And most wildlife NGOs seem to work on the principle that we have a moral duty to save the environment. As morality is pretty subjective, if anyone writes and says that one NGO is more moral than another, it says more about them than about the NGO itself. The comment about royal charters is a case in point.

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