Peter Smith?

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I am Peter Smith, Wildlife conservationist, Georgist economist, Cheif Executive and founder of the charity called the Wildwood Trust. All views expressed here are my own thoughts and not those of Wildwood Trust

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

Sunday, 16 July 2017

To Rewild or Starve - More Futile Trade-offs masking Perverse Incentives

Or why the 'Food Security Lobby' are a bunch of self serving benefit scrounging scaremongers!

Two good articles in the press this week have got me to discuss concept of the 'Futile Trade-offs' as in food or wildlife. But we must look deeper into the 'perverse incentives' inherent in our economy that make us destroy wildlife to put wasted food down the waste disposal unit or to feed intensively farmed pigs and cattle soya from destroyed rainforest! As ever the real sin is the perverse incentive to waste land we need for wildlife and keeping our environment healthy, the very life-support system all humanity relies on.

An article in 'The Conversation' posed the question: What would happen if we abandoned Britain’s farms and left them to nature? 

And the BBC came out with this:

World's large carnivores being pushed off the map

Both articles produced a lot of flak from the 'Food Security Lobby':  My answer is this:

Calories produced by farming on marginal land are tiny. One allotment can produces over 100 times the food of the same area of upland or sub marginal farmland if not a lot more. Food security is about distribution and never amount. Farming produces 10 to 20 times, at least, the food we need, the problem is distribution and poverty.

I have always considered the food security augment fallacious and one designed to ‘keep the free cash from subsidies rolling in’. The reality is we have lots of land to rewild. We could rewild 40% of the UK and it would save the taxpayer about £1 Billion in wasted subsidies and have virtually no impact on food production or prices as the land is so unproductive. less than one half of 1% of our food is produced on such land. The benefits would be huge. From flood prevention, massive increase in water quality, reduced water bills, gigantic carbon capture as soils replenish and woodlands grow.

We could increase economic activity as Jobs shift to recreation and other land uses in harmony with rewilding. Rewilded land can be land full of people doing things, just not making a big impact…. We could achieve this with greater economic output and prosperity if we learned to tax Land and Natural resources instead of ordinary people’s incomes as well, to dispel the myth of these 'Futile trade-offs' as food or wildlife; or the perverse incentives to destroy wildlife for so very little gain....

A Price on Nature - can save us from environmental collapse & poverty, if done right

George Monbiot wrote another piece on his fears and distaste for the economic process to give economic value to nature and ecosystem service...