Currently, IFCNR is working on refreshing our webpage with one of the main purposes being to incorporate a better explanation of the underpinning ethical position of IFCNR as well as our approach to what we see as pressing planetary issues. This led to the creation of “The Ethos of IFCNR.” We are happy to share this via our blog now and will in the near future have our Ethos presented on IFCNR’s opening page at www.ifcnr.org.
Compassion and reverence for life are essential if we are to understand and appreciate the importance of the intricate, interdependent, and symbiotic relationships that unite the planet’s land, its oceans, and all living organisms dwelling within.
The truth of the fundamental balance that exists among Nature’s resources is obvious and meticulously detailed in countless works of academics, philosophers, scientists, and astute observers prior to and throughout recorded history. Unfortunately, what is also true is the untold havoc visited upon the Earth by greed-driven human wants and desires.
How we correct the damage done to the planet begins with acceptance of a shared ethos stated simply by the late Albert Schweitzer:
“The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
By others, he meant the Earth, its oceans, fellow humans, and animals who share residence on this planet. According to Dr. Schweitzer, until we extend our “circle of compassion to include all living things” we will “not find peace.”
Naturalist Henry Beston urged humans to rethink our relation to animals. In his famous work, “The Outermost House,” he insisted that we “need another and a wiser and perhaps more mystical concept of animals” and that “the animal shall not be measured by man.” Animals share the planet; share sentience; share the right to respect, compassion, and reverence for their lives. Without reverence for life, all life, whether on land or in the oceans, there ultimately will be no life, human or otherwise.
It is precisely the recognition and desire to serve in some way to promote universal understanding, appreciation, and reverence of all life that led to the founding in 1995 of the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources (IFCNR).
IFCNR is dedicated to the premise that the Earth’s resources must be treated ethically and responsibly.
Our mission is to provide an objective voice for truthful and responsible dialogue amid the cacophony of rhetoric and illogical posturing that undermines virtually every debate over the use of the world’s natural resources.
IFCNR believes there must be a credible and honest backdrop of facts established prior to any discussion of resource use regardless of the personal positions of the foundation’s directors and/or supporters. Their personal biases, pro or con, are not comingled with IFCNR’s analysis of issues.
An equally important prohibition within IFCNR is the subject of fundraising. IFCNR’s Executive Director and staff are excluded from that activity lest it calls into question the credibility and objectivity of its work. Further, the companies that support IFCNR have no say in IFCNR’s foundational positions.
No matter the issue – pro or antiwhaling, pro or antihunting, trapping, GMOs, and so forth – IFCNR believes, at the very least, there is an ethical obligation to ensure that unimpeachable facts intrinsic to each subject are included in each issue’s discussion.
IFCNR’s principals may personally be anti-veal and yet IFCNR will strive honestly and ethically to show veal producers how free-raised techniques compare to boxed and confined husbandry methods.
IFCNR also believes those engaged in harvesting our planet’s natural resources (and yes, even killing animals) are the first and best line of defense to see that every aspect of each process is done as ethically as possible.
A lifetime study of ethics, logic, and epistemology present no evidence for the artificially contrived conflict between science and ethics. They are not opposites.
Science reveals what can be done. Ethics discusses whether it should or should not be done or even tried. Before that discussion can be held and regardless of where one falls on any particular subject, there needs to be a level playing field where the “facts” are known equally and agreed upon by both sides.Then the debate can be held; and if resolution does not occur, at the very least, every participant knows where they stand and why their position exists.
That is the message and mission of IFCNR.
“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
~ Henry Beston
The Outermost House: A Year of Life
on the Great Beach of Cape Cod