Aldo Leopold Keynote Address — Where Science Meets Culture: How Belief Systems Influence Wildlife Policy and Management

ROOM: Kiva Auditorium
Speaker: Dale R. McCullough
Professor Emeritus, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley.

Science is the process by which we learn the fundamental truths about the natural world. Actions that are scientifically sound, consistent, and verifiable are the means by which resource management and conservation goals are achieved. While science is unequivocal, its pursuit is flawed by limitations in methods and the fact that professionals too have imperfections. There often is resistance when new scientific results contradict conventional wisdom. The greatest barriers, however, are cultural beliefs. Humans are imbued with a fear of the unknown, and have invented and strongly advocated narratives to explain the world through religion, politics, mythologies, and “conventional wisdom”. While belief systems are being slowly eroded by science, they are still a major influence in society. I will discuss some personal experiences with these conflicts in working to save the endangered tule elk, arguments with other scientists about population dynamics, especially the role of density dependence, predator control programs, and related topics.

Location: Albuquerque Convention Center Date: September 24, 2017 Time: 11:30 am - 12:15 pm