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, 6 April 2015

The Economically Necessary Beaver...

My talk last week at the Necessary Beaver Conference on Scotland

Beavers and Ecosystem Services & a plan for Scotland’s Ecological Renaissance, with the help of Robert Burns…..?

The study of ecology and economics has resulted in a growing interest in the economics of nature which has been shown in sharp relief by the arrival of the Tay beavers. Peter Smith will take you on a quick journey into the emerging world of environmental economics and ecosystem services– where many of the benefits go unrecognised and much of the cash costs cause fear and opposition to the return of wildlife

Beavers make a big difference to our rivers and this means there are winners and losers. There are many obvious and subtle benefits to beavers living in our water ways once again: wildlife, water quality and the buffering of floods & droughts, carbon sequestration are the most obvious, . But how can we measure these benefits, what are the leading scientists and economists thinking when it comes to putting monetary value on these benefits

A proper compensation strategy, based in land values & taxation, could be the Solution to the whole problem of protecting nature and stimulating human progress, by getting to the very economic roots of the problem– we can see how simple economic steps, such as Land Value Tax & Green taxes, can efficiently and effectively internalise the costs and benefits of Scotland’s Ecological Renaissance by following the forgotten advice of Scotland’s Greatest minds including, Adam Smith, William Ogilvie & even Robert Burns himself!