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, 29 September 2016

The Sheehy Effect - Why Pine Marten 'Rewilding' will allow Red Squirrels to Return to England

It is one of my big ambitions to return red squirrels to all of the UK; non-native North American grey squirrels, introduced at the whim of some aristocratic thinking they look cute to his grounds,  have edged out our native red squirrels to near extinction in England. But it has been noted by many naturalists that red squirrels are present in the same place pine martens exist. Pine martens were wiped out in England by gamekeepers to keep them from their shooting estates, allowing our landowning elite to shoot that other alien invader, the pheasant, bred in their millions still today.

It is rare for reds, pine martens and grey squirrels to co-exist, in fact the return of Pine Martens to central Ireland has spelt doom for the invasive greys and a leap in red squirrel numbers this has been coined the 'Sheehy Effect' after Wildwood's good friend Dr Emma Sheehy who has done so much of the Pine Marten Surveys that have confirmed this hypothesis.  In fact Dr Emma Sheehy is working with Wildwood on more projects to assist her research into this effect.

This example highlights the need to get our ecology back in balance to stop invasive species, but also stop killing off our own species in the wonderfully termed ‘trophic cascade’ as is used by rewinders such as myself or George Monbiot. The scientific research and the conservation community have now been amassing evidence and the Vincent Wildlife Trust have already released pine martens to Wales.

I have been working up plans to restore pine martens and Red Squirrels throughout Southern England at appropriate sites and our plans were documented by the BBC on thier Inside Out programme this week.