The thoughts behind the Renegade Ecologist

From my 20 years as a nature conservationist I have learned the utter futility of trying to protect nature under our current economic system. But by making some small changes to our taxation system we could make a world fit for our children to inherit full of wildlife & prosperity for all.

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root....
Henry David Thoreau
"In many ways, nature conservation has become just another method of rent extraction by landowners who are trying to hide the fact that modern farmers’ fields are essentially deserts, devoid of wildlife, and the taxpayer must pay ‘rent’ if we want wild animals to occupy ‘their land’."
Peter Smith

Land Value Tax, which is in my opinion the Holy Grail of legislative changes to protect wildlife, is the simplest expression of the Economic theories of Henry George. This theory goes that if we abolish all harmful taxes on our hard work and trade and instead charge a rent for the use of natural resources such as Land we will not waste them or allow private interests to exploit the rest of humanities access to them.

Such a tax would not only stimulate jobs and enterprise but put a value on all of our natural resources and force us to look after them. If it was implemented for agricultural land, where the lower value of perpetually designated wilderness or natural grazing land is reflected in its land value taxation, it would be the surest way to save the wildlife of the UK and for the least cost to the taxpayer”

This would mean hard to farm areas, steep banks, riverbanks, rocky outcrops and areas landowners want to designate a nature reserves, which must be legally binding, could be set aside for wildlife and as such attract no taxation. The result of this would be that unproductive and marginal land would become wildlife havens and receive long term protection for future generation to enjoy. But it would also take away land and monopolies from our plutocrats who own wealth with no obligation to the rest of society, these plutocrats fund both the red and blue (and Yellow) faction of the vested interest or ‘line my friends pocket’ parties that control the legislature in Britain.

This blog is dedicated to teaching those who love nature that there is a simple ‘magic bullet’ that can save the rare wildlife of this country at no cost to the taxpayer. This magic bullet will actually grow our economy and create jobs and help create a better society based on rewarding those who work hard while penalising idol people who make monopolies such as bankers and landowners.

The solution if adopted worldwide would alleviate poverty and starvation and make a significant contribution to preventing war and terrorism.

Follow me on twitter: @peetasmith

Views are my own and don’t reflect the views of Wildwood Trust

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Trophic Level downgrading of planet Earth

One thing evolutionary theory has to teach us of human ecology  is we are expanding Man’s ecological niche and any  occupier of the niches we expand into will be wiped out – hence our need to wipe out badgers… (see recent Government announcement to allow farmers to wipe out badgers in the South West of the UK) It is in our nature to focus on competition and eliminate it.

This is as true in human economics as it is in human ecology –modern 'neo-classical' free market economics is about the ability of the few to eliminate all competition and allow monopoly of trade and monopoly of ownership without taxation or any legal influence of other humans or other species.  Politicians are nobbled, laws bent and taxes dodged by the few so they can control more of the economy and reduced its ownership and ‘trophic levels’ as human ecology encompasses more of the trophic levels of the ecology of the planet.

As the neo-classicist monopolists expand so there will be less ‘trophic levels’ in nature and in our economy. Most large carnivores will disappear just as we will see the gradual elimination of upper working class, the middle class and upper middle class. The logical extension of this is we end up with many poor and a few super rich and that the planet ends up, with just humans, pests, pets and crops.

Our job as ecologists and conservationists is to ensure the free market of ecology can play out its rich game in as much diversity as possible(not be monolithic communists with rigid five year plans for our little nature reserves), and this should also be the objective of our politicians to ensure rich diversity in our economy, with dynamically changing ownership and control of  trade and ownership of natural resources, as it passes between those most able to make use of it and from generation to generation.

I have long been fascinated by the analogies between economic and ecological processes.