Chapter 4: Underwater with a Hand Lens: Ecological Sciences and Environmental Ethics to Value Freshwater Biodiversity
Despite their impressive diversity and ecosystem relevance, insects are undervalued and rarely considered in conservation efforts, except for those that are medically or economically important. In terms of funding and effort, insect conservation research lags far behind vertebrate research, hampering the development of methodologies to better understand their conservation needs. This taxonomic bias has a severe limitation in that it only gives moral consideration to our closest evolutionary relatives, excluding the vast majority of other life forms on our planet. In this regard, the Field Environmental Philosophy (FEP) methodology provides a platform for the development of interdisciplinary approaches to biocultural conservation that combine ecological research and environmental ethics. We integrated ecological research, education, and environmental ethics over the last 15 years through the FEP to promote and foster freshwater insect awareness, conservation, and value in the Magellanic sub-Antarctic ecoregion of southern Chile. The FEP practice has enabled us to reach a wide range of people and raise awareness for these under-appreciated co-inhabitants. This methodology also promotes educational practices that encourage direct encounters with the inhabitants, habitats, and life habits, making them “visible” once more. Our work aims to awaken appreciation and valuation of the small co-inhabitants with whom we share the planet by providing a platform of scientific training and thinking from the earliest stages of education, with a novel combination of disciplines aiming to reveal the intrinsic value of freshwater insects.
Authors: Contador, Tamara, Rendoll-Cárcamo, Javier, Gañan, Melisa, Ojeda, Jaime, Kennedy, James, Convey, Peter ORCID record for Peter Convey, Rozzi, Ricardo
Editors: Rozzi, Ricardo, Tauro, Alejandra, Avriel-Avni, Noa, Wright, T., May Jr, Roy H.