“If I Know All the Science in the World, I’m Going to Change the World”—The Fisheries Scientist’s Fallacy?
Amy Fingerle and William W. Taylor
I (Bill) grew up around freshwater in upstate New York (USA) at a time before many people cared about the environment. The consequences of our careless interactions with the land and water could be seen in the lakes I played in as a child. Lake Ontario, the lake closest to my home, was not a pleasant place to be around, with blue-green algae and dead Alewives Alosa pseudoharengus dominating the waterscape. I wondered how I could make a difference in improving our environment and the lives of those who depend on its quality. Unfortunately, early in my life, there was seemingly little interest in environmental issues. Economic prosperity and material abundance were paramount in our culture, and few actions were taken to care for the environment. All of that changed dramatically in the mid to late 1960s, a seminal time in the ecological history of the Great Lakes. The public saw lakes polluted, rivers on fire, piles of dead fish, and beaches closed. People realized that they needed to advocate for the environment and by so doing could improve the health of their children and the prosperity of their communities. This was a formative time for me. I was in high school and trying to decide what my future would be. All of a sudden it was clear: I cared about the environment, I cared about people, and I could have a career of linking the two together.