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4 ESSENCE January 13, 2010

Conservation as a Normative Concept Local Flair for Fish Fillets


SARA FRALIN focused on where their next meal will access to education, it is unlikely that EMILY ANDERSON
come from and whether they will be conservation is practiced. Those con-
Conservation may be considered able to afford basic necessities - not sumers who have the luxury of an ed- I came up with this twist on fish when I was experimenting in the kitchen one
a normative concept among Envi- the luxury of preserving habitat space ucation and see how global resources evening and happened to have Oregon grape (Mahonia/Berberis aquifolium) berries
ronmental Studies students such as or biodiversity. This constant struggle are being exploited may not have an on hand. Blueberries or salal berries work just as well, but the Oregon grape has a
myself, but this perception is held by for economic survival prevents many ethical base that falls in line with that tart flavor that complements stuffing like no other. Plus, it is fun to cook with local,
a privileged minority. Conservation people from achieving a level of secu- of conservation. The small groups of native flora in an age when people are concerned about where food is coming from.
is defined by Webster’s New World rity needed to foresee environmental people who do care, who can afford to I find this recipe works best will sole, but any fish fillets will work!
Dictionary (2003) as “the official care damage or to incorporate environ- believe in conservationism and who
or management of natural resources.” mental ethics into their daily lives. clearly see our damaging effects on Here is what you will need:
It can also include the preservation of Economic stability is not the only in- the environment are a minority pri- -4 4-ounce fresh/frozen skinless sole or other wild fish fillets
natural resources and a decrease in hibitor of this concept; many people marily living in developed countries. -Salt and black pepper
use or consumption. Conservation is who enjoy the luxury of financial These people have the privilege to see -1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach (use fresh organic spinach if available. I
a concept that many people do not yet security do not believe conservation conservation as a normative concept, sometimes use Swiss chard, it is delicious. Or mix the two.)
fully understand or acknowledge; its is important. The average consumer and make consciences decisions in -1 free range, organic egg
recognition involves environmental (educated and financially secure) does their consumption habits. -1 cup herb-seasoned stuffing mix or 1 cup bread crumbs with your own selection
ethics, education, economic stability of seasonings (rosemary, thyme and chilies are great!)
and great foresight. Normative con- -½ cup Oregon grape berries, salal berries or blueberries
cepts hold a belief that certain things -Chives for garnish
ought or should be done; conservation
as a normative concept means people 1) Rinse the fish and season fish with salt and/or pepper.
believe we should be preserving our 2) Combine spinach or chard, egg, stuffing mix and berries.
natural resources and decreasing our 3) Spoon one quarter of the filling into each fillet. Roll up and pin rolls with a
consumption .I believe conservation toothpick or shish kabob skewer.
should not only be practiced but it 4) Bake covered at 350 Fahrenheit for 30-35 min (until fish flakes lightly and is
needs to become common practice cooked through). Sprinkle with fresh chives. Enjoy!
to ensure our future. Although many (Suggestion: serve with lemon and chili potato wedges or mashed cauliflower
cultures hold great respect and an ap- with squeezed lemon).
preciation of natural surroundings,
conservation is a relatively new con-
cept to the public, and continues to
gain momentum around the world.
Placing value on conserving our
natural resources involves great in-
sight, education, and preconditioned
environmental ethics. Insight infers
the ability to look past tomorrow into
the future and foresee the impacts of
today’s actions. Education is required PHOTO BY: MILA CZEMERYS
for people to understand how their not perceive a real danger to our envi- Conservation is a concept slowly
actions affect the complex ecosystems ronment, they value natural resources gaining popularity. So far primarily a
that make up environment. And envi- through the attachment of monetary fortunate few believe it is something
ronmental ethics are essential in this amounts, and make little or no effort we should act upon. This concept is
education so that people will care not to change how they consume. complex, as it requires the time, edu-
only about humanity’s economic pros- A normative concept affirms how cation, and ethical harmony for those
perity, but also about a future which things should be or a way something who wish to take an interest in it. I
is dependent on our planets fragile ought to be done according to social believe that conservation is a norma-
environment. For most people one or personal values. Conservation is an tive concept, but that is most likely
or more of these major variables are ethical value and so cannot be used as due to my privileged up-bringing and
not present. a generalization for the global popu- conditioned values. Were I struggling
The majority of humanity lives in lace. For the large number of people to find food or shelter, I wonder if I SALAL BERRIES CAN BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR OREGON GRAPE IN THIS RECIPE
extreme poverty, their concerns are who do not have economic stability or would uphold the same values? PHOTO BY: MILA CZEMERYS

Review of “The New Economics of Sustainable Consumption”


RACHEL WEVER that realigns social and economic munity building, collective action, In her analysis, Seyfang pro- lutions shed the community aspect
institutions to create “ecological citi- and building new infrastructures of vides a realistic vantage point from of self-built projects in order to gain
“Green” consumerism is evi- zens”. The difference has many im- provision) to rate sustainable con- which to assess the benefits and chal- mainstream acceptance and facilitate
dent everywhere in our current social plications: contrast individual green sumption initiatives concerning food, lenges facing grassroots initiatives. widespread installations.
climate. Green product labeling is consumers influencing incremental housing, and currency. The fifth indi- Seyfang’s examples may seem distant Seyfang addresses these “costs
intended to help consumers make a improvements through market sig- cator reflects an idea that the avenues and isolated, but they embody “seeds and benefits” throughout the book,
fully informed decision to purchase nals to ecological citizens organizing through which we make consump- of change” that together mark a grow- paying special attention to impacts
or not purchase goods produced more collectively to make systemic changes tion decisions must be exposed, and ing movement. She further explains on equality and community. She sug-
ethically or efficiently. Their purchase to market infrastructure. not just the consumption decisions how many grassroots movements can- gests that sustainable consumption is
decision in turn sends a signal to pro- not go mainstream or upscale without about consuming less, not simply con-
ducers – this is the concept of “vot- compromising their core ideologies. suming “green” versions of the same
ing” with your dollar. Mainstream For example, a project such products. It is also about self-provi-
economics presumes fully-informed, as Earthship Biotecture, a sustainable sioning and community building, as
rational consumers acting in isola- housing initiative, it is not realistic to is evident in Seyfang’s examples of
tion, and touts market mechanisms build at a high volume – yet this proj- time-share programs and alternative
such as green product labeling and ect can still transfer knowledge and community currencies. Finally, sus-
tax incentives to achieve socially op- be part of a wider solution. Earthship tainable consumption must include
timal consumption. Unfortunately for Biotecture creates zero-carbon houses initiatives that rely on a wider under-
mainstream economics, there is more (earthships) from available trash such standing of “wealth”.
to consumer theory than that. as tires and pop cans. These Earth- Overall, Seyfang’s examples demon-
Gill Seyfang calls to question ships are self-sufficient for both ener- strate the truth behind purchasing
such mainstream truths in The New gy and water. The structures require decisions – contrary to mainstream
Economics of Sustainable Consump- no heating or cooling as they are built theories, people do not act as isolated
tion. After examining what consump- with thermal mass walls and floors, individuals, but as members of a wid-
tion means and what motivates con- and make use of south-facing light er community that they affect and that
sumer decisions, she suggests that and natural shade to regulate tem- affects them. The ideas mentioned in
green product labeling and educa- peratures. this book are insightful, for somebody
tional campaigns fall flat. PHOTO BY: MILA CZEMERYS While the Earthship project interested in creating positive changes
What comes to mind with the While Seyfang outlines a skeleton of made by individuals. This abstract cannot easily be mass-produced, Sey- towards a more sustainable future,
words “sustainable consumption”? the problems embedded in the current idea is captured in several examples: fang offers solutions for integrating this book can offer inspiring examples
Seyfang distinguishes between two economic and political system, the food is provided at a farmer’s market aspects of these alternative buildings of how others are doing just that.
interpretations of the term: the main- meat of her book is solution-oriented. or at a grocery store, houses are built into mainstream construction, per- (This book is available for free down-
stream approach mentioned above Seyfang uses five indicators of “sus- in the style of “self-build” or by large haps by making use of rainwater har- load on the website of Gill Seyfang at
that aims to create “green consum- tainable consumption” (localization, construction companies propagating vesting, greywater recycling, or straw http://www.uea.ac.uk/~e175/Sey-
ers”; and a new economic approach reducing ecological footprints, com- urban sprawl. bale insulating. Admittedly, these so- fang/Home/Home.html)