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Episode #154

Thinking Critically About Conservation with Dudley Edmondson

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UPDATED: October 10, 2023
ORIGINALLY AIRED ON October 10, 2023

 

Explore the inspiring journey of Dudley Edmondson—a master of many arts—as he passionately delves into discussions on conservation, diversity, education, and the compelling reasons behind why we must protect our ecosystem.

 

Dudley Edmondson is a man of many talents – a photographer, author, filmmaker, and presenter. With a career spanning 32+ years, he's made significant contributions as a creator and motivator.

One of his key contributions is the book “Black and Brown Faces in America's Wild Places” – an inspiring work that shines a light on outdoor role models within the African American community.

Beyond penning influential books, Dudley's photographic prowess can be seen in dozens and dozens of field guides he has contributed to, as well as photo and film exhibits . Dudley is also a seasoned presenter, sharing his knowledge and experiences with audiences across the globe.

In this interview, we delve into a great conversation that'll get you thinking about conservation as it plays out in our lives – from diversity to education to funding.

A central point of discussion revolves around the idea of assigning dollar values to nature's resources—a strategy some conservation organizations use to highlight the importance of preservation over extraction. Dudley, however, advocates for the purest form of conservation, one that prioritizes doing the right thing because our lives essentially depend on a healthy ecosystem. He also stresses the vital role of environmental education in instilling this mindset from an early stage.

This deep-dive chat also brings to light Dudley's work, his love for photography, and his drive to inspire others to become better stewards of the land.

Enjoy!

Resources Mentioned

Episode 154: Thinking Critically About Conservation with Dudley Edmondson

Shownotes: ConservationVisuals.com/154

(Digitally transcribed, please forgive any typos)

Jaymi Heimbuch:

[00:00:00] Jaymi Heimbuch: Welcome to this episode of Impact, the conservation photography podcast. And I am so excited to sit down with you today, Dudley, and talk about conservation photography and wild spaces and all kinds of great stuff. So thank you so much for sitting down with us today.

[00:00:18] Dudley Edmondson: Yeah, thanks for inviting me. Appreciate it.

[00:00:20] Jaymi Heimbuch: Absolutely. So I always ask my guests before we jump into everything, all of the questions that I have lined up for you is for anyone who's never met you before, isn't familiar with your work. Who is Dudley out in the world?

[00:00:33] Dudley Edmondson: Yeah, that's a, that's a good question. Somewhat hard to answer, but I would say probably a guy who is forever tethered to nature and the natural world, and there's never a time when it's not. On my mind and part of who I am, whether I'm having coffee at an outdoor cafe or sitting in my backyard or fly fishing, I'm [00:01:00] always.

[00:01:01] Dudley Edmondson: , engaged in nature, even sitting here in my office. I mean, my, my windows are open. So I'm listening for migratory birds. Every once in a while I'll take a break and walk through my garden looking for new butterflies I haven't seen for the year or different pollinators. And so I would say I'm a guy who's just.

[00:01:22] Dudley Edmondson: Forever connected to nature, so

[00:01:25] Jaymi Heimbuch: What a beautiful answer. I love that. So many people kind of give their professional rundown of something. And you're like the core of who I am is someone who's always just connected, aware of, engaged in nature. That's fantastic.

[00:01:42] Dudley Edmondson: yeah, that's me,

[00:01:43] Jaymi Heimbuch: It's funny. Yesterday, a student of mine posted in our student group that she is now going to be editing a column in her local newspaper and she wants it to be really focused on conservation.

[00:01:56] Jaymi Heimbuch: Like, what can we do? Easy things in daily life that anyone who might not [00:02:00] be super green minded can get involved in. And she's like, so what is it that when you get down in like the pit of despair, which happens for all of us in conservation, like what are some of the things that you do in life? It's kind of a green thing that gets you out of that.

[00:02:13] Jaymi Heimbuch: And I thought about it and I thought, , the, the things that I do in life in order to try and have a green life really revolve around shopping because it's, it's how you vote with your dollars. But the thing that gets me out of the pit of despair is reconnecting with nature. So I started thinking about all the things that we could do in daily life that reconnect us to nature and make us feel like we.

[00:02:37] Jaymi Heimbuch: Have some hope and some purpose behind things like using reusable shopping bags or better laundry detergent and so on. And you just mentioned so many things that you do, keeping your windows open to listen for those bird songs or taking breaks from work to go look for pollinators. What are some of the other things that you do just when you're immersed in your workday [00:03:00] to make sure that you're not only immersed in nature, but that you're like aware of, of nature.

[00:03:05] Dudley Edmondson: just really just, I mean, I have the privilege of working mostly from home. But, when I'm not , I'm traveling along the road. Flying someplace to, to give a talk or do a video production project or something like that. Like before, before we got on the line here, I mean, I was, I went for a gravel bike ride. On a trail at a park here about a mile from my house. And, and as I was riding along the shore of Lake Superior, I'm, I'm, I was thinking to myself literally how lucky I am to live here. And so I'm, , just moving through stuff , through the woods and there's, , very few people around and not, not that that's a Good or bad thing, but it just, , gives you a chance to really make that connection.

[00:03:54] Dudley Edmondson: But, , I don't know if I, if I've answered your question, but I mean, I just, I just feel [00:04:00] like getting outside just makes me feel better mentally. So there's really never, in my opinion, a bad time to, to get outside. And , listen to cedar waxwings or chickadees or something like that.

[00:04:16] Dudley Edmondson: I mean, I just can't really think of a, a bad reason to engage nature.

[00:04:22] Jaymi Heimbuch: Yeah, so a lot of us as adults spend some time remembering how important nature is and reconnecting with nature, but it feels like this has just been part of who you are forever. Is that true, that you've always had that connection? Or what was your journey into being this aware of your connection to nature?

[00:04:41] Dudley Edmondson: well, I mean, certainly every, since I was a kid, I've been connected to nature. As a small child uh, , living in at home in Columbus, Ohio , my parents quarreled a lot and I found that getting out [00:05:00] of the house, going out into the backyard and, and , engaging nature, or a lot of times we go on family picnics to a place called Hoover Reservoir.

[00:05:09] Dudley Edmondson: And I found that if I'm putzing around in the woods is a little boy around the picnic area. I just felt better mentally, and I just carried that throughout my entire life. I think people don't fully understand the power of connecting to the natural world and how it can help you mentally feel so much better.

[00:05:34] Dudley Edmondson: And so it's, it's certainly been something I've been, been a part of my life since I was probably 10 years old or so. And that's, A long time ago. So, yeah.

[00:05:48] Jaymi Heimbuch: Well, and you do so much work. I'd love to like transition into the work that you do because you do so much work that helps other people build that connection up and feel comfortable and feel like [00:06:00] the wilderness is a place that everyone is welcome in. When did that side of your work start to appear?

[00:06:07] Jaymi Heimbuch: When did you realize like, Hey, this is what I want to do with my time on earth.

[00:06:12] Dudley Edmondson: Probably in the early 2000s when I started working on my book, Black and Brown Faces in America's Wild Places. I had been working as a professional nature photographer for a number of years at that point, and I found oftentimes that , I was the only person of color or only black person, , in all the places I went the rim of the Grand Canyon.

[00:06:37] Dudley Edmondson: , all the parks and things that I was visiting and I just realized that, Hey, I need to create a set of outdoor role models for, at that time for African Americans. So that they can see people who look like them are in the out of doors. And so I started searching for those people. I found them [00:07:00] in the park service or in other government jobs, as well as, , scientists and everyday people, conservationists, and just sort of created this, this large group of, of, , people who, I felt that readers could connect to because they either reminded them of someone in their family or , perhaps a friend or something like that.

[00:07:25] Dudley Edmondson: And so , it's very specific in, in trying to really have a broad spectrum approach where there was older people, younger people, people just starting their careers, people near the ends of their careers. And just trying to have that diversity that I thought would help to engage a larger group of people

[00:07:47] Dudley Edmondson: and so that was really the beginning because, again, I understood the power nature had for me healing. And so I felt like if, if other people, particularly, [00:08:00] Again, at that time, African Americans who, you know, , we have higher levels of stress, people of color in general, but African Americans certainly have higher levels of stress than , than, than white people in America, just because of, , systemic racism in the way our country has operated for centuries.

[00:08:20] Dudley Edmondson: And so I felt like giving African Americans this sort of tool. In the form of connecting to nature and reading about people who are connected to nature could help sort of reduce some stress levels as well as , encouraging them to get outside and, and be more a part of nature. So,

[00:08:43] Jaymi Heimbuch: Mm hmm. And you wrote Black and Brown Faces in America's Wild Places in 2006. Is that right?

[00:08:50] Dudley Edmondson: yep. Yep.

[00:08:51] Jaymi Heimbuch: What has been that journey since creating that book? Has it had the effect that you hoped that it would have? And what has it [00:09:00] been like simply promoting the book and meeting the people who are reading it and traveling around with this concept and introducing people to it?

[00:09:09] Dudley Edmondson: , I mean, it's been slow, but I think it certainly is having the effect. I mean, it's been, what, 15 or so years or so since I wrote it. And it's certainly, it's actually having a sort of a resurgence. I mean, I've been selling books fairly steadily this year because I feel like, in some ways, America has finally caught up.

[00:09:35] Dudley Edmondson: I think in around 2020, America has, has finally sort of caught up with that idea. And there are certainly more African Americans in the outdoors today than certainly when I wrote the book. And I think every day there seems to be more and more people engaged. And so it's been, it's been. Interesting.

[00:09:56] Dudley Edmondson: Fascinating. Particularly running across [00:10:00] like if I give a, gave a talk running crossed people will come up to me afterwards and say, you know, , I thought I was the only black person who enjoyed nature and you shown me that that I'm not. And I, , and I appreciate that. That I don't feel alone now in my , efforts and, and My connection to to nature, and that's happened more than more than a couple of times over the years. And so and I've heard stories. People say that, , the book has inspired them to to get out and take their family. into the out of doors and things. And so it's kind of, , that was the whole point of it.

[00:10:37] Dudley Edmondson: And every once in a while I get some feedback that indicates that , the book is having, having the impact that I hoped it would. So,

[00:10:46] Jaymi Heimbuch: That is amazing. Like, I want to really emphasize how... Huge an accomplishment that is because we work in conservation. Like we have this passion for conservation and so much of that revolves around [00:11:00] making sure that people feel connected, feel welcome, feel like they are excited to learn about the places that are around them and want to protect the places that are around them.

[00:11:10] Jaymi Heimbuch: So to help people have that reconnection and then have that trickle into their family, they want to bring their family out and get their. Kids really excited about it. Like this is what builds that compound effect in conservation. And so all of the work that you do in, in your conservation efforts beyond simply this book and the work that you've done behind the book, I feel like it just.

[00:11:31] Jaymi Heimbuch: Magnifies it. So I'm so happy that you're seeing responses like that and hearing back from people. And I'm curious about, cause you mentioned that as you were a wildlife photographer, professional wildlife photographer, that was sort of the impetus to write the book is because you weren't seeing very many people like yourself out in photography.

[00:11:53] Jaymi Heimbuch: And I'm curious to get into that journey a little bit more, just simply, how did you become. A wildlife [00:12:00] photographer. How did that fall into your lap or how did you pursue that?

[00:12:03] Dudley Edmondson: , I mean, I had some sort of career goals, , coming out of high school again, too far back to remember or talk about, but , I, one time I thought I wanted to be a game warden or a wildlife biologist and doing field work. And, , I had all these ideas of, of career paths that I wanted and I just started two things.

[00:12:32] Dudley Edmondson: And. I kind of hate math and I figured that at some point as a scientist it would it would crop up. And, and it's like, yeah, well that's, that's terrible. And then I thought also that, , potentially at some point I would get stuck behind a desk and I didn't want that. And there's also a certain amount of, of creativity I wanted to maintain and, and sort of independence that I wanted to maintain in [00:13:00] my, in my career.

[00:13:01] Dudley Edmondson: And so I decided being a nature photographer was the best way to still be able to connect with nature and learn about the environment, but also, , being artistic and creative in, in, , the work that I did and and do, and I mean, I'm still photographing, I had a great run yesterday photographing butterflies in my front yard, just with my iPhone but , it's just Something that sort of happened because of the, , sort of plan a was probably game warden plan B was probably a wildlife biologist and in plan C was a nature photographer and that's kind of the one that I, that I went with and have certainly enjoyed.

[00:13:46] Dudley Edmondson: that path.

[00:13:47] Dudley Edmondson: I got started here in Minnesota.

[00:13:49] Dudley Edmondson: With an author named Stan Tequila who writes various, he writes a ton of books now. But at the time, he was writing little pocket field [00:14:00] guides to that time, just birds of, , each state in the Union. And he wasn't a photographer, but a writer. And so he hired me and I, , started photographing his books for him.

[00:14:11] Dudley Edmondson: And then eventually I taught him, , nature photography. And the two of us would photograph his books. And he, , really is the person I credit for really helping me get my career started. In terms of, he gave me a, , a break and paid me well.

[00:14:26] Dudley Edmondson: We traveled and , photographed at least 75 different books or so for, Birds, and wildflowers, and reptiles, and amphibians, and mammals, and trees. I know I photographed at least all of those in their first editions, maybe second editions of those books. So,

[00:14:50] Jaymi Heimbuch: What a cool way to get started to like know that one of your big goals is species diversity in an area because that's the whole goal of the publication. [00:15:00] So I'm curious because photographing a really good field guide image is really different from photographing something that is just an artistic vision or the scene that's unfolding in front of you getting behaviors, that sort of thing.

[00:15:13] Dudley Edmondson: hmm. Mm hmm.

[00:15:14] Jaymi Heimbuch: Did you have any sort of a challenge in trying to maybe toggle between the way that your mind was thinking when you knew that you were trying to photograph a really great field guide shot that very clearly shows markings and so on? Or what were the traits that you were looking for? And then maybe something that your heart kind of compelled you to photograph for that creative side of you?

[00:15:34] Dudley Edmondson: I would say that... , for the, the images for publication, , we were using fairly large lenses, 600, 400 millimeter lenses. And so you're, you're kind of filling the frame with the bird or mammal or something like that. , but when I was being creative, a lot of times I would just, , just use shorter lenses, wide angle lenses.

[00:15:57] Dudley Edmondson: I mean, and back then we were shooting film. [00:16:00] Which I can clearly remember making that transition to digital back in like 2000, 2001 or something like that. I think we had been to Alaska for about two to three weeks photographing nesting shorebirds on the tundra. And we came back and we all had.

[00:16:23] Dudley Edmondson: Hundreds of rolls of film that we had to pay to process so but yeah, I mean, I don't really feel like it was that difficult.

[00:16:30] Dudley Edmondson: What I've learned. I've taken so many photos over so many years. Decades that it's really easy for me to apply my skill to whatever the subject is whether it's insects or clouds or a a still life of fruit or something. I mean, I've done commercial food stuff. I've done, , portraiture, I've done all kinds of things.

[00:16:59] Dudley Edmondson: And [00:17:00] it's like, you just take the skill you have and apply it to the subject that you have. And so. I've learned that over the years it's super easy to just take that skill and apply it wherever I need to I just have a signature style and I just apply it to it, to whatever subject I'm working with. So swapping around is, is pretty easy.

[00:17:22] Jaymi Heimbuch: When did you discover that signature style? Is that something that you work toward in your photography? Or did you just notice that it appeared after time?

[00:17:31] Dudley Edmondson: Yeah, it's a good question. And I think I, I kind of just noticed it. I mean, One thing that develops over time is that you can look at, somebody could drop a hundred images in front of you and you can pick out. in seconds that are worthy of moving beyond. And that's just a skill you get from take looking at so much over [00:18:00] the years and seeing so many images , back when we were using light tables and slide transparencies.

[00:18:06] Dudley Edmondson: I mean, I could throw my slides down and go that one, that one, and then sweep the rest in the garbage, , just in, I mean, just you're because my brain knows what it wants. What it likes and what it doesn't like. And I can quickly just look and pick stuff out. So I really enjoy judging photo contests for that reason, because it's, it's a fun challenge to say, Oh, here's a thousand photos pick your 10 favorite. And over the course of a few days, , I can get there. So but also seeing other people's work and encouraging other people. By saying, Hey, this is a really great photo. You've got really good skills and vision and continue, , pursuing, pursuing your path.

[00:18:59] Jaymi Heimbuch: Mm [00:19:00] hmm.

[00:19:00] Dudley Edmondson: I've enjoyed doing that.

[00:19:01] Dudley Edmondson: I've judged a, a number of, of competitions around the world and here in the United States. So it's, it's always fun.

[00:19:09] Jaymi Heimbuch: I'm curious because you mentioned that after time you kind of noticed your style in wildlife photography. What about that conservation mindset? Is that something that you brought into your nature photography?

[00:19:22] Jaymi Heimbuch: Is that something that you noticed? As well as you got into really photographing nature, did it kind of pop up for you? What was that kind of journey like?

[00:19:31] Dudley Edmondson: I'm not really sure. I feel like I'm, I'm always evolving and adapting and re evaluating which I find to be very healthy , I've had some, some thoughts about conservation over the last year or two, and I really am not exactly sure that I agree with the way environmental nonprofits are [00:20:00] doing everything. I really feel like they could. To do a much better job, particularly of working in urban spaces. So that people can make a better connection to nature and people can realize that they can, , humans can coexist with with nature and the environment. And I feel like urban green spaces in some ways are far more endangered than.

[00:20:32] Dudley Edmondson: , wilderness spaces because they're surrounded by concrete and, , corporate America and their tiny little islands of, , greenery where some where animals live and people probably try to to visit those spaces. But , there isn't as great an effort to protect and preserve those spaces.

[00:20:56] Dudley Edmondson: And I find that a lot of times. [00:21:00] State and federal believe that it's up to the city to do that stuff. And I say the city is part of it, but I think the state and federal government could do a better job as well. So,

[00:21:13] Jaymi Heimbuch: Oh, this is an interesting area to go down. You're making me think of Dr. Chris Schell, who really works inside of urban ecosystems and animals that live in urban environments. And I've been listening to a couple of interviews with him, and he really, Doubles down on the idea that there is no wild versus not wild.

[00:21:35] Jaymi Heimbuch: Everything's wild to some degree or another. And there's wilderness inside of these urban spaces. And it's interesting to hear you talk about the idea of Non government organizations or government agencies thinking about, Oh, when we talk conservation, we're talking about preserving wildness or preserving nature, preserving something that's outside of an urban area.

[00:21:56] Jaymi Heimbuch: But the fact is, if we can change that mindset for all of [00:22:00] us, not just agencies, but like that mindset of there is wilderness everywhere, and it is the way that we view it as, as wild and being part of that. It's almost like the idea of conservation would be so much easier. In an urban area because we recognize the wild.

[00:22:14] Jaymi Heimbuch: It's there. It's not a little even, even a park inside of an urban area. Isn't the only nature oasis. It's part of the spectrum that happens in an urban environment. I'm sorry. I won't get on a soapbox about it.

[00:22:28] Jaymi Heimbuch: What would be on your wishlist about maybe some specific changes that you've had in mind about the way that we think about our approach conservation?

[00:22:39] Dudley Edmondson: I think that conservation is way too white, way too,

[00:22:45] Jaymi Heimbuch: hmm.

[00:22:46] Dudley Edmondson: it has to engage indigenous communities and give them, , the power of decision making power and, and just [00:23:00] conservation needs to be more ethnically and culturally diverse because to be brutally honest, when I think about it, the people who got us in this situation are white people.

[00:23:13] Dudley Edmondson: Indigenous people didn't trash the land. Enslaved Africans were too busy trying to stay alive to be trashing the environment. European settlers and white people destroyed our environment. And having them in a position where they're the primary and only decision makers, in my opinion, is a very bad idea.

[00:23:35] Dudley Edmondson: And so, I mean, and I don't say that to personally insult you or anyone, but it's just my belief is that you can't have the people who destroyed the environment solely responsible for protecting and preserving the environment. There has to be more. People of color involved in it because our perspectives are different, [00:24:00] the way we look at, I mean, I know indigenous communities see zero separation between themselves and the environment, that nature, we are nature, nature is us.

[00:24:09] Dudley Edmondson: There isn't this conquer nature. I have to control it. I have to , even. Manage, even wildlife management, that whole idea to me is a very strange idea because if something is wild, it shouldn't be managed. It's wild. Managing it makes it unwild, in my opinion. And so I feel like that's one of the main things that needs to happen more, more. And then I just feel like there's, and I'm not sure how to clarify or quantify or whatever, but I feel like there's way too much money in conservation uh, millions and millions and [00:25:00] billions of dollars and look at where we are. We're still struggling, losing species, losing habitat. I feel like. For the kind of dollars that sort of move around in, in conservation, there, there should be a lot more progress, and there isn't, and I just feel like it shouldn't cost that much money.

[00:25:23] Dudley Edmondson: Capitalism is the enemy. of nature and the environment. It is not people. It is extraction, commodification. These are the things that make it difficult for us to protect the environment. And I don't even think of myself really as a conservationist anymore.

[00:25:44] Dudley Edmondson: I think of myself more as a environmentalist, , because to me, conservation, in my mind, sounds like you clearly understand that your actions and the things you're doing are hurting the environment, and so [00:26:00] what you're doing is you're trying to conserve this small amount of it and then commodify and extract and use the rest of it.

[00:26:12] Dudley Edmondson: And that just doesn't feel right to me. If that makes any sense.

[00:26:19] Jaymi Heimbuch: Mm

[00:26:20] Dudley Edmondson: yeah. So I think of myself more as an environmentalist looking at what is the best thing for nature and the environment and how do we bring people and nature back together where people. understand that they have a role, they have a place in, , Protecting nature and the environment and that , really just environmental education to me is something that I think should be mandatory for every student on the planet, actually to where you understand that the things you do have an impact on the environment. And [00:27:00] again, I feel like urban green spaces are.

[00:27:02] Dudley Edmondson: Places where people can learn some of that kind of stuff.

[00:27:05] Jaymi Heimbuch: Yeah. I want to go back to the, the money conversation because I can just feel biologists and, , small nonprofits coming out of the woodworks being like, I'm sorry, wait, what there's, there's too much money in concert.

[00:27:18] Jaymi Heimbuch: Wait, too much money. Wait, I does not compute. So but at the same time, your point is with as much money that is going into conservation, we should be seeing more progress. So. Tell me a little bit more your thoughts on that. If you were to have, like, let's say that you were, , given the royal scepter and you have control of all the money.

[00:27:39] Jaymi Heimbuch: How would you rearrange things? What would you want to see differently done with funding and conservation? How would you change conservation funding?

[00:27:48] Dudley Edmondson: Well, I feel like in some kind of way, part of it comes from attaching a monetary value to land and [00:28:00] to resources.

[00:28:01] Jaymi Heimbuch: Mm hmm.

[00:28:01] Dudley Edmondson: And that is bad. Because then it brings it out of the natural world and into the man made world and into capitalism. When you say this hundred acre forest and all of its timbers worth X dollars.

[00:28:19] Dudley Edmondson: And I feel like. Somehow we've gotten into this way of, by attaching dollar amounts to water, to forests, to , land, is, is part of the problem.

[00:28:38] Dudley Edmondson: And I'm not entirely sure how we disconnect the two, but I feel like more money is how we got in, money got us into this situation. And if we fight this conservation environmental battle with more money, I don't really think we're going to get to [00:29:00] a, a real solution. Capitalism again is the problem.

[00:29:05] Dudley Edmondson: And. Capitalism isn't going to get us out of this problem. I just don't see that happening.

[00:29:11] Jaymi Heimbuch: hmm. Mm

[00:29:12] Dudley Edmondson: And, I don't know how we get around that, but to me, that's part of the problem is attaching dollar amounts to natural things that humans didn't make trees.

[00:29:23] Dudley Edmondson: Humans didn't make water. Humans didn't make soil. Nature made all of those things. So how can we attach dollar amounts to those things? Yeah. It's interesting. A friend of mine and I talk about this, like it pops up probably every couple of years that we, we dive into this because it's, it's interesting in the conservation sector, it's like, okay, well, how do we get people to care about what it is that we're trying to accomplish and care about preserving things and care about not being extractive with resources.

[00:29:55] Jaymi Heimbuch: And so one of the strategies that a lot of conservation [00:30:00] organizations have used is the idea of saying, well. If we can assign a value to this by keeping it and not the higher value than extracting it, then we can, we can basically frame it in a way that makes people understand because everybody talks money.

[00:30:14] Jaymi Heimbuch: And so if everybody understands the concept of money and we can say, hey, leaving sharks in this reef. Makes this area worth X millions of dollars because of ecotourism, and that is more than extracting the sharks, , finning them and selling them on the market. And so, okay, we're going to talk.

[00:30:32] Jaymi Heimbuch: We're going to frame it in that way. But on the other side of that, it basically takes away the concept that you want to do something because it's the right thing to do. Take away the requirement of reminding people that we, we aren't. Over fishing sharks out of these reefs because the right thing to do is to leave them there so that the ecosystem can be healthy.

[00:30:57] Jaymi Heimbuch: And so how do we frame these [00:31:00] conversations in a way because I can see both sides of the argument on on whether or not you assign dollar values or you don't. But it's interesting because if you want to bring back. Or strengthen the side of the argument. That's like, we do it because it's the right thing to do.

[00:31:14] Jaymi Heimbuch: Period. Like that's it. End of story. Then we do need to be able to pour all that work into environmental education, connecting people to nature from the very beginning so that it's like instilled in your heart and soul that it's the right thing to do. And therefore it's okay.

[00:31:30] Dudley Edmondson: I believe that that is the sole reason to do conservation to do environmental protection and preservation is because it's the right thing to do. End of story, nothing else to talk about because that human beings. People don't have enough reminders in their daily that their entire existence depends upon a healthy ecosystem, a healthy environment , pollinators doing their [00:32:00] thing , predators doing their thing plants producing oxygen and sequestering carbon.

[00:32:07] Dudley Edmondson: People don't have enough daily reminders that those things are absolutely essential to their lives. And those are the reasons you do conservation. You don't do it because of dollars. You do it because your life depends on it.

[00:32:22] Jaymi Heimbuch: Oh my God. Mic drop. That was so well said. Well, for anyone who's been very inspired by you in this interview and wants to check out more of your work, where can they go to see your photography to buy your books?

[00:32:36] Dudley Edmondson: my website for books, just DudleyEdmondson. com and my photography most likely will show up on my Instagram feed, which is just Dudley. Edmondson.

[00:32:46] Jaymi Heimbuch: I'll make sure it's linked in the show notes. Dudley, it's been a joy to talk with you. I love watching you just light up with the passion that you have for the planet. Whenever you really get into these conservation [00:33:00] issues and the, and these big picture topics that you care so deeply about, and it's been wonderful to hear your perspectives on the world.

[00:33:07] Jaymi Heimbuch: And I feel very, very grateful that you're doing the work that you're doing out there.

[00:33:10] Dudley Edmondson: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I thoroughly enjoy talking to like minded folks about, some of these issues and also, just having the opportunity to inspire people to be, to be better stewards of the land and better, better environmentalists.

[00:33:26] Jaymi Heimbuch: Wonderful. All right. Well, like I said, folks, the links are in the show notes. So wherever you're listening to this episode, simply scroll down to be able to go check out more of Dudley's work. And Dudley, thank you again so much for being part of this podcast.

[00:33:38] Dudley Edmondson: Thank you.

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