Biodiversity and humanity: Imperative for a conservation ethic; Karin Schwartz

We are witnessing the sixth great extinction crisis due to the pressures of humankind on the natural resources of the earth. Evolution of biodiversity spanned millions of years, yet now its loss in mere centuries will entangle humanity within its web, as we threaten the very sustainability of all life on earth. Our future will depend on not only knowledge of science to understand how our ecosystems work and of economics in recognizing intrinsic values of earth’s natural systems, but ethics in accepting personal responsibility for taking global action to preserve a sustainable environment.

Karin Schwartz, daughter of members Eugene and Ruth Schwartz, grew up in the Ethical Society. Her upbringing gave her a solid foundation for embracing diversity, not only in her connections with different people and cultures around the world, but for the diversity of species that she would encounter as a zoologist. She started her zoo career as a zookeeper at the St. Louis Zoo. Interest in all things animal led her to a Master’s degree in Animal Behavior from UMSL and a job as Registrar at the Milwaukee County Zoo. She led the development of a training program for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association in use of the International Species Information System, a global system to record animal data from over 800 zoological institutions worldwide. She extended her records training sessions outside of the USA, presenting sessions for zoo associations in India for the South Asian region, in Argentina for the Central and South American region, as well as in Ecuador, Hawaii, and recently, South Korea. Now the Biological Database Manager for the Chicago Zoological Society, Karin is an active member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, serving on committees within the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Tapir Specialist Group and Reintroduction Specialist Group.