It is frustrating the way that word meanings change over time. I am a tree hugger. Not bashful about it, and I see nothing wrong with having a passion for natural conservation. Protecting our natural resources from idiots is my definition of conservation. Keeping weekend partiers from destroying the public lands around the Rubicon Trail for example. But from a recreationalists point of view, I want to hunt, fish, snowmobile and wheel in nature, subject to reasonable limitations to make sure the resource is available for enjoyment in the future by others.
But what they call "conservation" is nothing short of "preservation". Preserved in formeldahyde, not to be touched but merely photographed and enjoyed from a distance. "Embalmed" for future generations. Just to make sure I wasn't nuts, I did a little Googling:
pre•serve (pr -zűrv )
v. pre•served, pre•serv•ing, pre•serves
1. To maintain in safety from injury, peril, or harm; protect.
2. To keep in perfect or unaltered condition; maintain unchanged.
3. To keep or maintain intact: tried to preserve family harmony. See Synonyms at defend.
4. To prepare (food) for future use, as by canning or salting.
5. To prevent (organic bodies) from decaying or spoiling.
6. To keep or protect (game or fish) for one's private hunting or fishing.
1. To treat fruit or other foods so as to prevent decay.
2. To maintain a private area stocked with game or fish.
1. Something that acts to preserve; a preservative.
2. Fruit cooked with sugar to protect against decay or fermentation. Often used in the plural.
3. An area maintained for the protection of wildlife or natural resources.
4. Something considered as being the exclusive province of certain persons: Ancient Greek is the preserve of scholars.
[Middle English preserven, from Old French preserver, from Medieval Latin praeserv re, from Late Latin, to observe beforehand : Latin prae-, pre- + Latin serv re, to guard, preserve; see ser-1 in Indo-European roots.]
con•ser•va•tion (k n sűr-v sh n)
1. The act or process of conserving.
a. Preservation or restoration from loss, damage, or neglect: manuscripts saved from deterioration under the program of library conservation.
b. The protection, preservation, management, or restoration of wildlife and of natural resources such as forests, soil, and water.
3. The maintenance of a physical quantity, such as energy or mass, during a physical or chemical change.
________________________________________con ser•va tion•al adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
n 1. the act or an instance of conserving or keeping from change, loss, injury, etc.
2. a. protection, preservation, and careful management of natural resources and of the environment
b. (as modifier) a conservation area
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003