Sunday, 18 February 2018

Which Half and Who Will Decide?


An article in the UK press asks the bold question "should we give up half the planet to other species?" (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/18/should-we-give-half-planet-earth-wildlife-nature-reserve). Certainly, anthropogenic effects are having catastrophic effects on wildlife throughout the entire globe and the idea of 'giving up' 50% of the Earth to become a gigantic nature reserve is superficially attractive. Presumably, we are talking here about half of the planet's entire surface, as both terrestrial and marine habitats are in need of some TLC. It might be superficially a nice idea to people currently living a fairly comfortable and sheltered existence but I can't see the suggestion having any real currency because a) it would require the approval and cooperation (with compensation?) of all the peoples on the planet; b) where the protected (human-free?) areas would be located would have to be decided (by experts?); c) humans and animals are unlikely to stay in 'their' locations (it doesn't even work for current small scale reserves); d) people currently exploit animals and plants for gain in many ways (eating them, using them as 'medicines', providing decoration and generating 'pets) and e) we already know that human influences (e.g. plastics and  'greenhouse gases') spread over the entire planet from current concentrations of our species. It looks to me as if we are stuck with the current mechanisms for conservation with all their inherent inadequacies and lack of scope!

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