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

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Wildlife charities promoting child poverty part II


My response to a chap helping to organised a anti development petition

Any house building would help poor people, it is a national disgrace that we are building so few homes in the UK. But as you say there are no real planning proposals to redress this, and the Tory planning changes are a travesty that will maximise income to landowners and city spivs while minimising the social benefit that home building brings.

I still doubt it will have any real structural difference to biodiversity in the UK, changes in agriculture are at least 100 times more important than house building. I still think that this is not well understood by the general population and most people operate on a completely false set of assumptions that house building is a major factor in wildlife loss. Simplistic campaigns and some of the  rhetoric on the 38 degrees site play into this popular misconception.

I have grave concerns that the popularity whipped up by all sections of the media are more do to with present day home owners pulling up their ladder of privilege  to protect their capital value. I have been very guilty of using house building as a bogyman in my own past campaigns and deeply regret it, I used this for one of my most popular marketing campaigns while at Kent Wildlife Trust. Unfortunately this diverted attention from the real wildlife calamity that was befalling the county due to the changes  in farming and land use such as drainage and flood defences.

This proposal, just like the forestry proposal, shows just how much private interests have wholly captured public policy formation, and on that front I am a huge supporter of the work of 38degrees in being the biggest facilitator of poplar opinion to counter this trend.

David Cameron has shown he is just a PR man in the American mould of politics, he has farmed out policy formation to the lobby groups of the city’s largest finical institutions and in return for political donation is bringing them to parliament when he thinks it expedient to do so. Both the public forest sale and now these planning changes have come straight from the officers of one of the banks or hedge funds and have been written deliberately to allow our plutocrats to maximise their unearned income, further extending tax avoidance and furthering the terrifying wealth gap that is the unfolding calamity of our society