《经济学人》:永恒的守护者-荒野的未来
日期:2011-09-23 10:42

(单词翻译:单击)

Nature conservation
保护自然

The constant gardener
永恒的守护者

The future of wilderness
荒野的未来

Sep 17th 2011 | from the print edition

Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World. By Emma Marris. Bloomsbury; 224 pages; $25 and £20. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

书名:《喧闹的花园:在人类统领的世界里保护自然》 作者:艾玛•马里斯。布鲁斯堡出版社出版。224页。售价25美元或20英镑。可从Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk购买。

WHEN the Scottish-born American naturalist, John Muir, encountered a pristine wilderness where the soaring mountains touched the open sky, birds sang in the pine trees and fish spawned in the free-flowing rivers, he was determined to protect it from over-exploitation by the settlers who succeeded the native American presence. Muir fought to ensure that the Yosemite Valley in California became a national park, and he succeeded in 1890. The concept of preserving nature from man’s interference proved both powerful and enduring: almost a century later the Wilderness Act of 1964 empowered states to designate protected land. In “Rambunctious Garden” Emma Marris outlines why the concept of wilderness is flawed.

当年,苏格兰裔的美国自然主义者约翰•缪尔邂逅了一片原生态荒原。那里的山峰高高耸立,直入云霄,松林间鸟儿浅唱低吟,溪流里鱼儿繁衍生息,见此美好景象,他下定决心要保护那片土地,以免其遭到继原住民之后占据此地的移民过度开发。为了让它——加利福利亚优胜美地山谷成为国家公园,他不懈努力,终于在1890年申请成功。保护自然免受人类行为干扰这一观念影响深远:几乎一个世纪以后的1964年,荒野法案面世,授权美国各州指定土地加以保护。在《喧闹的花园》一书中,艾玛•马里斯却阐述了为什么这个关于荒野的观点是有缺陷的。

The journey begins in Hawaii, where biologists are toiling to remove species that have been introduced to the islands over the centuries since James Cook’s party landed there in 1778. Invaders such as purple-flowered Asian melastome and strawberry guava threaten to overrun delicate Hawaiian natives such as thornless roses and delicate tree ferns. Yet even if all the invaders were removed, it would only return the islands to the state into which the Polynesians, who inhabited them for at least 1,000 years before Cook’s arrival, had shaped them.

作者从夏威夷下笔,1778年詹姆斯•库克带领的探险队登上夏威夷群岛,此后数百年间外来物种被移植到了此岛,生物学家们为移除它们费尽了心思。包括亚洲紫色野牡丹和草莓番石榴在内的外来物种肆意繁殖,威胁了脆弱的本地物种,如无刺玫瑰和树厥的生长。然而即使将这些外来物种清除殆尽,夏威夷群岛也只能退回到波利维亚人定居时期,库克船长到来之前,他们已在此地生存了上千年。

Even theoretically, returning Hawaii to a prehuman existence would be impossible. Ecosystems change over time, with or without the involvement of mankind, so no one can tell what Hawaii “should” look like. And mankind’s influence on his environment is now such that he has changed the composition of the atmosphere over the past few centuries, so the effects of humanity can never be completely removed.

即使是从理论上来说,将夏威夷岛还原成有人类居住之前的状态也是不可能的。不管有没有人类的影响,生态系统都会随时间演变,因此没有人可以说出夏威夷“应该”是什么样的。人类对其所处环境的影响是如此巨大,几个世纪以来连大气层的构成都发生了改变,因此人类的影响永远也无法消除。

Ms Marris traces the emergence of a “wilderness cult” that she believes affects efforts to restore habitats to a previous form. She argues that early American environmentalists, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, have been misread as its champions. Although Emerson described “essences unchanged by man; space, the air, the river, the leaf”, he also wrote of the “perfect exhilaration” of “crossing a bare common, in snow puddles at twilight, under a clouded sky”. And when Thoreau became determined to get away from it all in 1845, he retired to Walden Pond, a mere mile-and-a-half away from the nearest village. Preserving nature, Ms Marris writes, is a relatively recent preoccupation.

马里斯女士在书中追溯了“荒野崇拜”的起源,并称正是这种崇拜激发了复原居住地的行动。她认为,拉尔夫•瓦尔多•爱默生和亨利•大卫•梭罗等早期美国环境保护论者都被误读为了荒野崇拜的信奉者。虽然爱默生曾描绘过“不受人类纷扰的自然精髓:空间、大气、河流、树叶”,他也刻画过“黄昏时分,在缀满云朵的天空下,行走于坑洼的雪地上,穿越一片荒原”的“无上欣喜”。而当1845年梭罗坚决要离世隐居时,他选择了瓦尔登湖,一个离周边最近的村落仅有一英里半的地方。马里斯女士写道,保护自然,相对而言是近代的紧急要务。

Perhaps, but it has a longer history than the author fully acknowledges. A struggle between those who would remove man from a landscape and those who think we should actively manage the environment has existed since at least the 1930s. When the first global environmental organisation was established in 1948, it was called the International Union for the Protection of Nature: the organisation renamed itself in 1956, replacing “protection” with “conservation” in its title, because its members had grasped that people play an important role in shaping the natural world.

也许保护自然这一观念的产生比作者所认识到的还要早。早在上世纪三十年代或者更早时,就有人争辩应该对风景区进行隔离保护还是采取积极措施规划保护这个问题。1948年全球第一个环境组织成立了,当时名为国际自然保卫联盟(International Union for the Protection of Nature),1956年该组织更名,将名字中的“保卫”替换成了“保护”,因为联盟成员领会到了人类在自然世界的发展中所扮演角色的重要性。

Ms Marris’s book is an insightful analysis of the thinking that informs nature conservation. The author outlines the concepts of “re-wilding” habitats by introducing species that have been lost, of the “assisted migration” carried out by foresters who prepare for climate change by planting trees at the current limits of their ranges (and, indeed, the gardeners who transplant cuttings and seedlings from one part of the planet to another). She describes how ecosystems can be designed: nesting birds can be encouraged to breed on a site by manipulating it to suit them, for example. And nature can flourish in areas that are not wild, such as city roof-gardens.

马里斯这本著作为保护自然背后的思考提供了一份卓有见地的分析。作者通过介绍那些已经灭绝的物种引出了“原始化”栖息地的观念,还提到了“辅助性迁移”的观念,比如林务员为应对气候变化栽种树木以促进当地林木多样性(当然,还有园艺家们做出的努力,他们通过扦插移植和幼苗移植将一处的植物带向地球另一端的某处)。她还描述了设计生态系统的方法:比如改造一块地方的环境,使之能吸引筑巢的鸟儿在那里孵化幼鸟。还有,非原生态的环境中也可以充满勃勃生机,比如城市里的屋顶花园。

There are many reasons to value the natural world. Some people want to prevent certain species from becoming extinct, others to ensure the diversity of an ecosystem, to make use of clean air and water or to revel in the beauty of a landscape. Happily for both mankind and the natural world, Ms Marris concludes, many such causes can be aligned.

珍惜自然环境的动因有很多。有些人是为了防止某个物种灭亡,还有些人是为了确保生态系统的多样性,或者为了能呼吸到清洁空气,喝到清洁水,抑或是为了充分享受自然美景。马里斯女士总结道,令人高兴的是,不管是对人类还是对自然环境,许多此类的动因是殊途同归的。

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重点单词
  • conservationn. 保存,防止流失,守恒,保护自然资源
  • preventv. 预防,防止
  • touchedadj. 受感动的 adj. 精神失常的
  • globaladj. 全球性的,全世界的,球状的,全局的
  • insightfuladj. 有深刻见解的,富有洞察力的
  • protectvt. 保护,投保
  • determinedadj. 坚毅的,下定决心的
  • emergencen. 出现,浮现,露出
  • interferencen. 妨碍,干扰 [计算机] 干涉
  • currentn. (水、气、电)流,趋势 adj. 流通的,现在的,