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

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Green Blob - Paterson's Hypocracy

Our former secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs has been making his true views know now that he has been sacked & is smarting from the negativity he received for his policies


“…I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.


By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.”
“Yes, I’ve annoyed these people, but they don’t represent the real countryside of farmers and workers, of birds and butterflies.
Like the nationalised industries and obstructive trade unions of the 1970s, the Green Blob has become a powerful self-serving caucus; it is the job of the elected politician to stand up to them. We must have the courage to tackle it head on, as Tony Abbott in Australia and Stephen Harper in Canada have done, or the economy and the environment will both continue to suffer.”

In some respects I agree with Paterson on the issue of undue influence by self-serving cabals who have aligned vested interests supporting certain ‘green’ policies that benefit themselves. In the Green movement there are a lot of individuals on the gravy train of government/lobbyists/industrial groups proposing policies that will not benefit the environment that much, just themselves. Such alliances of course work in all aspects of public and private life and at all levels whether a group of shop keepers getting subsidies from councillors or the ‘great green’ conspiracies of Biofuels and carbon caps and trading.

I am very worried about the idea of 'ecosystem services'; pricing natural resources to be used by monopolists as a way of robbing the poor and doing little for the environment. The idea is that society pays landowners and polluters not to destroy the land or pollute our environment as a rent every year. Unfortunately there are many in the green movement who have succumbed to this appalling thinking, instead of just making it harder and more expensive to destroy nature which is what they should be campaigning for. 

But by far the biggest and longest serving such cabal are the landowners who Mr Patterson represents and seams ironically unaware that all his actions seam to allow landowners to receive the unearned rents of land unfettered by any damaging activities that create that rental value on that land or cause other detrimental effects in the form of wildlife destruction, pollution and economic hardship to the poor in this country and farmers and the poor across the world.

The farming industry (read big landowners) continually lobby more effectively than any other part of society, getting away with causing the largest amount of damage to the environment and getting the greatest slice of government subsidies.

If we track back through the landowning cabal we see that all the spurious justifications of maintaining high land prices and high rents that form the unearned income, the biggest free lunch on the planet, go to a tiny proportion of landowners who receive this money free and do not pay for the damage done while generating their huge ill-gotten gains. This applies to all who own land, natural resources or the right to pollute.

It is a massive confiscation, a huge Robin Hood in reverse of robbing the poor (and our future generations) to give to the rich.

To solve the problem of cabals inadvertently lobbying government we must improve our political system making democracy – just that – one person one vote and have representation that is truly democratic, and to have liberties and responsibilities properly defined within that democracy.

Our present ‘democracy’ allows such vested interests to capitalise on cosy relationships. So what Patterson is really saying is ‘I do not want one group of lobbying monopolists affecting my group’s pre-eminence in lobbying, monopolising and subverting the economic and legal system that at presently benefits me and my kind’.

As ever the solution is Land Value Tax, externality and pigovian taxation as simply and directly as possible.