"Staying Alive!" Assessing the Endangered Species Act
n Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m. - 12:00 pm, the San
Diego Natural History Museum Auditorium will host "Staying Alive,"
a lively exploration of the controversial Endangered Species Act (ESA) and
the growing national debate over its effectiveness and its impacts on economic
activity. Is the ESA responsible for success stories such as the delisting
of the gray whale, or was the whale already beginning to recover on its
own? What does the disappearance of a species mean and how much biodiversity
do we need? Is listing a species as endangered worth the economic disruption?
Has the ESA proven to be a benefit or a boondoggle?
The Act itself is endangered as Congress considers its
reauthorization in the next few months. Some say proposed changes will make
it more flexible; others say revisions will cripple it.
"Staying Alive!" will begin with a guided
tour of the Museum's current exhibit, "Our Weakening Web: The Story
of Extinction." Forum participants will then meet in the auditorium
to hear speakers address the status of the ESA and the issues underlying
the legislation's controversy. Representatives from Interior Secretary Bruce
Babbitt's office and from the House of Representatives' Endangered Species
Act Task Force have been invited to speak. A panel of state and local experts
- representing such diverse groups as government officials, state agencies,
developers, builders, research biologists, environmentalists, small landowners
and farmers - will give their perspective on the issues. Forum participants
will join in this public dialogue. The Environmental Issues Forum is free
with Museum admission.
Afterwards, a Speakers Round-table will be held in the
Sefton Room, from 12:45 - 2:30 pm, where discussion with the panelists will
continue in a more informal setting over lunch. Seating is limited and preregistration
is required. The fee for the afternoon Roundtable is $10.00 for Museum members,
$15.00 for non-members and includes a box lunch. Call the San Diego Natural
History Museum Education Department for reservations or more information
at 232-3821 ext. 203.