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Biodiversity - May 31

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My manifesto for rewilding the world

George Monbiot, montbiot.com
Through rewilding – the mass restoration of ecosystems – I see an opportunity to reverse the destruction of the natural world. Researching my book Feral, I came across rewilding programmes in several parts of Europe, including some (such as Trees for Life in Scotland and the Wales Wild Land Foundation) in the UK, which are beginning to show how swiftly nature responds when we stop trying to control it (18,19). Rewilding, in my view, should involve reintroducing missing animals and plants, taking down the fences, blocking the drainage ditches, culling a few particularly invasive exotic species but otherwise standing back. It’s about abandoning the Biblical doctrine of dominion which has governed our relationship with the natural world.

The only thing preventing a faster rewilding in the European Union is public money. Farming is sustained on infertile land (by and large, the uplands) through the taxpayer’s munificence. Without our help, almost all hill-farming would cease immediately. I’m not calling for that, but I do think it’s time the farm subsidy system stopped forcing farmers to destroy wildlife.

Watch the Rewilding made simple, an animated guide - video at The Guardian
(27 May 2013)


Decline in biodiversity of farmed plants, animals gathering pace

Alister Doyle, Reuters
A decline in the diversity of farmed plants and livestock breeds is gathering pace, threatening future food supplies for the world's growing population, the head of a new United Nations panel on biodiversity said on Monday.

Preserving neglected animal breeds and plants was necessary as they could have genes resistant to future diseases or to shifts in the climate to warmer temperatures, more droughts or downpours, Zakri Abdul Hamid said...
(27 May 2013)


Ecology Lessons From the Cold War

Jacob Darwin Hamblin, New York Times
TODAY the effort to preserve the planet’s biodiversity is often seen as a campaign to save the whales for their own sake, or to give polar bears a few more winters on the Arctic ice. But in the 1950s, when the concept was first discussed, it was understood that far more was at stake. The “conservation of variety,” as it was called during the early years of the cold war, was no less than a strategy of human survival.

At that time, American military leaders and scientists were contemplating the possibility of total war with the Soviet Union, with not only civilians, but plants, animals and entire ecosystems as fair game. The war planners imagined a brave new world in which biological and radiological weapons would be considered side by side with crop destruction, huge fires, artificial earthquakes, tsunamis, ocean current manipulation, sea-level tinkering and even weather control...
(27 May 2013)

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