With a no deal Brexit looming and the Government’s farm subsidy regimen shifting towards payments only for delivering ‘public goods’, it looks like hard times may lie ahead for many commercial farmers in the UK, none more so than for upland livestock farmers.
Because the film is so compelling and Attenborough such a sympathetic person, viewers may accept all of its statements and arguments. This would, however, be a mistake in my opinion.
In this article our Finnish partners Snowchange announce the launch of a new, world-leading effort to re-wild the Finnish-Russian Koitajoki River System using a combination of science and traditional knowledge. Gaia is proud to be a partner in this exciting project.
If you’re a ‘Beaver Nut’ and realise earnestly just how critical these creatures are to the future well-being of the earth, with a pivotal role in the creation of abundant biodiversity, water provision, purification, flood and drought alleviation, you will pursue beaver advocacy with the kind of tedious zeal generally restricted to deluded members of obscure religious cults.
I am firmly of the land sharing community. I take the view that if we are to reverse the relentless decline of biodiversity and natural ecosystems, which I was fortunate enough to witness in abundance as a child before major agricultural intensification took place, we need to change the way we farm.
We should not simply sweep aside farms to make way for wildlife. Instead, we should see agriculture—and ourselves!—as part of nature, and integrate accordingly.
If there is a formula for the new demagoguery, there must also be a formula for confronting and overturning it. I don’t yet have a complete answer, but I believe there are some strands we can draw together.
One of the finest books I’ve read recently was ‘Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter’ by Ben Goldfarb. Ben is an American environmental journalist who has taken great interest in this remarkable creature and its ability to, as he put it when we spoke, “help tackle many of our ecological problems if we just get out of the way and let the rodent do the work”.
Rewilding demands a cultural shift and this will be closely related to the shift needed for rapid transition in other areas. Sharing space with messy, complex nature and predators with large teeth is something to which we can and must adapt.
We don’t want natural climate solutions to be used as a substitute for the rapid and comprehensive decarbonisation of our economies. The science tells us both are needed: the age of carbon offsets is over.
A successful Saami-led, salmon rewilding project on the Näätämö river in Arctic Finland illustrates the success of partnership between Indigenous knowledge and western science on environmental questions, say the authors of a recent paper, but outdated perceptions and prejudices means these kinds of partnerships elsewhere still too often fail.
Viewed over centuries, the beneficial role of upland farmers as stewards of both the landscape and their local communities is clear. However, George Monbiot, spoke for rewilding largely from an ideological standpoint.