[Coral-List] Conservation quote source

David M. Lawrence dave at fuzzo.com
Sat Jul 23 21:13:09 EDT 2016

Dear all:

I can use some help.

For my dissertation (a literary project focusing on coral reefs and 
ocean conservation), I hope to use a quote many of you in the coral reef 
world are familiar with:

"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what 
we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught."

I suspect most of us have seen it cited a lot on sites devoted to 
conservation of all sorts of natural environments, including the sea. It 
is used on some NOAA sites devoted to coral conservation.

The quote is attributed to Senegalese forester Baba Dioum. My problem: I 
cannot find the original publication -- either in form of a publication 
by Dioum or in a report from the event in which it was allegedly said.

Most accounts say Dioum said it during a presentation at the 10th 
general assembly of the International Union for the Conservation of 
Nature (IUCN) in New Delhi in 1968.

It appears to me that most of the citations seem to be citations of 
previous citations, not of the original source. Most citations give the 
year as 1968, but the IUCN general assembly in New Delhi was held in 1969.

I've contacted the IUCN. Their librarian said it appears only Volume II 
of the assembly proceedings was published. I've scanned the TOC and 
searched the contents of that volume for Dioum, and I can find nothing 
of the quote in the one published volume. (The librarian did not know 
why Volume I of the proceedings was [apparently] not published.)

A special issue of the journal Indian Forester apparently has a 
discussion of the assembly, but as yet I have no citation details for 
when that issue was published and neither I (looking through the online 
TOCs) nor a friend (looking through hard copies of the journal at the 
Virginia Tech library) have been able to find that issue. I have asked 
the IUCN librarian for more details to help find it, but have received 
no response as yet.

So, does anyone have any evidence of -- or better yet, a copy of -- the 
original publication of Baba Dioum's quote? I feel uncomfortable citing 
it in my dissertation if I can't confirm its provenance.



  David M. Lawrence        | Home:  (804) 559-9786
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"All drains lead to the ocean."  -- Gill, Finding Nemo

"We have met the enemy and he is us."  -- Pogo

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