Science vs. Cognitive Dissonance, Opinion vs. Fact in Today's Conservation:


Conservation is everyone's business. However, it becomes tricky when emotional-based public platforms interfere with science-based research. The interface along which wildlife and people now interact is becoming increasingly crowded and complex. Science is quickly becoming no longer valid enough amongst media attentions and is terrifyingly overlooked as vague notions of 'morality' are embedded through opinion. And while we all have opinions, not all of us have facts.

There are those of us working tirelessly with politicians, scientists, leading conservationists, biologists, foresters, outfitters and First Nations; however public assumption has taken precedent over scientific research. Unfortunately for this, public assumption often is lead by emotion, unawareness, inexposure and is voiced by large groups with strong voices passing information that is not fact but a vague opinion. Where this becomes an issue, is our perception of what conservation means. The word conservation has become a notion, a western idea or topic brought up over light table talk. A fad notion, where opinions lead, and facts are overlooked. Conservation is being simplified with the idea that it all can be taken care of with a simple prescription of what you believe it to be; 'if politicians only did this', 'if we only had diets consisting of that', 'if we preserve everything over conserve', 'if we allow Mother Nature to run her course again'. We break conservation into a matter of ethics, simplicity and intolerance against the ‘other’.

As aforementioned, the term 'conservation' is being used by media platforms, where quick opinions are being passed as fact on the CBC, BC Wildlife Federation medias, social media, online forums and word of mouth. The Grizzly Bear hunt was shut down this week by our new provincial leaders as a political movement to adhere to these very same opinion based facts. This is wildly concerning, not because resident hunters and non residents cannot hunt these magnificent creatures, but that our political leaders chose opinion over fact and that our population chose to believe opinions as fact. While the most current research shows we have the second largest grizzly bear population in all of Northern America (1