To some, it’s considered the “Magna Carta of the environmental movement.” To others it’s a financial drain and threat to private property. The Endangered Species Act has been on the books for almost four decades now, and all this week we’re considering its affect on the wildlife—and people—of New Mexico.
At its heart, the ESA is a covenant between humans and the earth. It’s not surprising that something so philosophically weighty but logistically messy would cause turmoil. When it comes to the nuts and bolts of how humans should steward nature while preserving ourselves, people tend to disagree. And who knows the right answer? This isn’t exactly an experiment that’s been tried before.
But it’s also because of the ESA’s poetic ambition that it holds such potential for sparking compromise. As John Horning put it, “At the end of the day, I don’t think any human being wants the weight of extinction on its soul, especially if we knew we could do something to prevent it.”
We chose to focus on the five animals in this series because, in some way, they each symbolize a larger part of the story in this quest for the Greatest Compromise...a compromise that can satisfy life in all its forms.