Rebecca Nesbit

Monday, February 17 2020 at 7:30PM

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Farm Road
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Rebecca Nesbit

What's the talk about?

Humanity is causing a mass extinction on a scale the Earth last saw with the demise of the dinosaurs, transforming the future of life. Protecting nature is vital to our survival and wellbeing, yet to do this effectively we need to forget some of our fundamental beliefs about conservation.

There is no objective answer to questions about what the natural world should look like. We can’t even justify the view that species have intrinsic value so need to be protected from extinction. Anyone who believes they are being guided solely by science is therefore failing to acknowledge their underlying values. Science can tell us how to achieve our goals, but we need ethics to determine what those goals should be.

This talk will question the intuition which has caused us to consider the honeybee a conservation icon while ignoring species such as the hairworm. We will explore alternative approaches to setting our conservation priorities, and ask how to make equitable decisions about the future of the natural world.

Rebecca is an ecologist and writer with a particular interest in the science and ethics of setting conservation priorities. For her PhD she used radars and flight simulators to study butterfly migration, and she now works in science communication. She has written two books: ‘Is that Fish in Your Tomato?’, looking at the fact and fiction of GM foods, and ‘A Column of Smoke’, a novel.