Champions of instrumental value contend, among other things, that protecting nature for its own sake alone has failed to stem the tide of species extinction, that conservation should be open to partnering with business to effect the greatest change, and that conservation support will be broadened by more directly considering other social objectives (such as food security or clean water). By contrast, advocates of intrinsic value assert that ethical arguments for conservation should be sufficient, that partnering with business is selling out to those who create the problem, and that social considerations are already central to conservation.
Unfortunately, what began as a healthy debate has, in our opinion, descended into vitriolic, personal battles in universities, academic conferences, research stations, conservation organizations and even the media. We believe that this situation is stifling productive discourse, inhibiting funding and halting progress.
Adding to the problem, in our view, is the issue that this dispute has become dominated by only a few voices, nearly all of them men’s. We see this as illustrative of the bigger issues of gender and cultural bias that also continue to hinder conservation."
Read blog from The Nature Conservancy.