"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.