Akinpelu Babatola
Guest Writer, The Xpress Train

At first glance, the words “Preservation” and “Conservation” appear to mean the same thing. Environmentalists have been known to use both words interchangeably in certain events. But there are a few differences that set them apart. 

To go about learning these differences, we must first define them. 

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word preservation as “the activity or process of keeping something valued alive, intact, or free from damage or decay” It goes ahead to define Conservation as “ a careful preservation and protection of something.”

Environmental Preservation versus Environmental Conservation 

Environmental preservation is more concerned with maintaining the status quo. The natural state of the planet or its resources is left as it. It does not allow for the continuous use or changing of the state of environmental resources.

Preservation does not believe in the destruction or changing of our natural ecosystem. It wants to maintain things as they are instead. Protected zones and reserves are excellent examples of preservation at work. 

When it comes to preservation no human intervention is allowed. Nature is allowed to take its course freely and unhindered. So you will not find any man-made structures or buildings in preserved areas.  

Environmental conservation, on the other hand, concerns itself with lowering the consumption rate. Conservation involves thinking of ways to bring down the rate at which resources are being consumed. For the purposes of conservation, as long as resources are being consumed at a lower rate than they are being replaced, then all is well. 

So when resources such as energy sources are being used optimally with minimal or no waste then conservationists are happy. The process of conservation regards this as a situation in which such resources are being saved and prepared for future use. This will ensure that future generations will also have these conserved resources available to them later on. 

Conservation requires quite a bit of human intervention on our side. We have to be actively involved in all activities focused on conserving resources. This will ensure that everything runs smoothly for both ours and nature’s benefit.

What does a Preservationist do?

A preservationist is more concerned with historical sites and buildings. For instance, preservationists are in charge of maintaining the pyramids of Egypt. Without the efforts of previous preservationists, we most likely would not have them in our current lifetime. 

While they are focused more on historical sites, they also play a part in preserving some natural areas. Game reserves are examples of such areas. 

Summarily, preservationists keep things as they are and keep the rest of us from interfering with the natural course. 

What does a conservationist do?

A conservationist works to ensure the sustainability of all our resources. They come up with innovations to achieve this goal. Recycling and reusing of resources are heavily supported by conservationists.

Their long term aim is to make sure that we leave something behind for those coming after us. This will allow for the continuation of the current lifestyle if not an improvement. 

Summarily, conservationists monitor the use of resources.