An attraction towards wildlife, wilderness, or biodiversity is one of the most common reasons for people joining the environmental movement. But further engagement with environmental problems and with the debates around conservation brings them up against at least two complications. On the one hand, their concern for wildlife conservation has to be placed in a wider social context, where people living in biodiversity-rich landscapes are some of the poorest and most marginalised in society. On the other hand, environmental concern also takes other forms, viz., concerns about sustainability and about environmental justice. And in fact, those who espouse the cause of wildlife conservation are often those whose lifestyles most affect sustainability and the fair distribution of environmental space. Thus, a multi-dimensional enquiry into the nature and cause of the environmental crisis becomes necessary. Prakash Gole’s life exemplified such a multi-dimensional enquiry. In this lecture, Sharachchandra Lele attempts to start from where ‘Gole-sir’ (as Prakash Gole was known to many) left off. He looks at different ways of understanding and reconciling the conservation-sustainability-development tri-lemma, focusing particularly on the currently popular “ecosystem services framework”. He points to missing pieces in the framework and how these missing pieces lead to what is being called “the environmentalist’s paradox” by some scientists. He argues that there are no readymade solutions or silver bullets, but suggests ways in which environmentalists and developmentalists could come together, something that is more urgent than today than ever before.