This essay raises the following questions: What if conservation success depends less on speaking truth to power than on organizing a political force that can bring more pressure to bear on decision makers than their opponents? But what if natural scientists, by virtue of their knowledge, passion, commitment, are pretty much the only group that can be trusted with the fate of biodiversity and leading humankind out of their destructive ways? What if begging policy makers to do the right thing means barren oceans, the end of many species, and the end of wild places (not to mention a more dreary human existence)? What if halting the loss of biodiversity and healing the wounds to species and ecosystems depends on altering the human trajectory of conquest and instead adapting human societies to them? While the essay cannot answer the grand questions it instead provides important context for discussing ways scientists can increase their effectiveness.