Living systems do not like ego. Do not follow conventions. Do not conform to the color wheel. They do what they want, what they must, to live, to thrive.
Imagining conservation outside the capitalist box is a liberating exercise, countering eco-anxieties and catastrophic nightmares, while releasing positive collective energy. A movement united around a convivial conservation vision would be a powerful change agent in the Great Transition.
So until we fully understand ecosystems, the best approach is what Aldo Leopold suggested: Let’s just make sure we keep all the parts when we’re tinkering with them.
Which do you think is more valuable: the web of living animals on this planet, or all the gold accessible in the ground? If given a choice to eliminate one and preserve the other, which would you choose?
A growing movement of gardeners — from ethno-botanists to green-thumb hobbyists — is committed to spreading awareness of methods for enhancing the intricate ecological relationships in local spaces. Even more significant is how the interconnectedness of this knowledge can make a ‘global’ difference to landscapes everywhere.
All species are embedded in complex networks of interactions where they are directly and indirectly dependent on each other. A food web is a good example of such networks. The simultaneous loss of such large numbers of plants and animals could have cascading impacts on the ways species interact – and hence the ability of ecosystems to bounce back and properly function following high-severity wildfires.
Today some 500,000 bison have been restored in over 6,000 locations, including public lands, private ranches and Native American lands. As they return, researchers like me are gaining insights into their substantial ecological and conservation value.
But I want us to ask Indigenous people to take the reins themselves and help get us back on track with fire. I want them to take care of their own lands once again, as the Karuk people are doing up north on the Klamath River.
Coastal re-engineering and freshwater extraction have reduced water flow into the estuaries of the world. Because of these activities, stressed coastal vegetation is especially vulnerable to die-off during droughts, contributing to a loss of human services related to storm protection, fisheries and water quality.