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Trust versus Responsibility

Saturday 30th April 2011

Trust versus Responsibility

Overall, we believe we act in a responsible fashion during our lives. We are responsible voters, responsible drivers, responsible tax- and bill-payers; and we make responsible decisions about how to manage health, education, safety and upbringing of our children just as a few examples. We also feel we act responsibly in matters that concern us individually – we try to consume intelligently, drive less polluting cars, recycle, etc. But we also hand over trust so that third parties will meet the levels of responsibility we set for ourselves. We trust schools, banks, plumbers, car mechanics, websites that will hopefully not download viruses, supermarkets that will not sell us products full of pesticides, and politicians who say they will represent our interests. That is just a short list of course – we hand over a much longer list of responsibility every day of our lives.

Some of this is of course justified – we don’t have the time and perhaps the ability to home school our children, fix our cars, do our own stock trading, and grow our own vegetables. Life these days is too complicated to manage all on our own.

However, this does not absolve us of responsibility, especially in terms of blindly handing over trust for the things we care deeply about. And this is where we have gone deeply wrong in terms of conservation issues.

We have trusted too deeply in the big agencies to responsibly do what we entrusted
them. We have thus distanced ourselves from our values with donations, and allowing our governments to use our taxes to support institutions that are not doing well by any standards. We have become lax and complacent to the detriment of our standards of conservation.

It is up to you

How to go forward? Educate yourself. Question how your contributions are being spent and how your taxes are contributing to conservation organizations that might not meet your standards. Recover your individual responsibility rather than handing it over to others. Be informed on issues that matter to you, as you can then be the best authority. Write your government to demand better standards from the IUCN, CITES, UNEP, and all other tax-supported organizations clearly failing to keep your trust. Take back the reins of the horse running out of control in a direction you have not selected.


 Are we as much to blame for the failures of the agencies because we feel powerless? No!!  There is much we can do......!


The effectiveness of these organizations is not currently evaluated with sufficient scrutiny. Remember the bank bailouts – judged too big to fail? That is what those agencies are in the same sense, as they are failing you, conservation, and wildlife, but supposedly too big to change. They operate as if they are absolved from scrutiny, but always remember you can be part of a much more demanding and intelligent constituency.    


“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.”  - Marie Curie.


Posted by Pieter Kat at 21:14

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