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, 19 November 2017

Beavers! a plan for Wales’s Ecological Renaissance, with the help of David Lloyd George - Video of Lecture:

Beavers! a plan for Wales’s Ecological Renaissance, with the help of David Lloyd George…..?

It was my Honour to Give the Annual Lacey Lecture for the North Wales Wildlife Trust this year - You can watch it here:


In Honour of W.S. (Bill) Lacey,  Lecturer in the Botany , University College of North Wales & Founder of the North Wales Wildlife Trust




A history of Beaver in Britain, a lecture by Peter Smith, Director of the Wildwood Trust. Peter will talk about the history of beaver extinction, the many efforts of people over the last 100 years who tried to reintroduce beavers and the problems they faced. The many benefits to our water quality, flood risks & and wildlife that beaver could bring. Dispelling some of the myths about the augments against beaver reintroduction.

The study of ecology has resulted in a growing interest in Rewilding some of our land and the role of animals such as beavers, wild herbivores and the huge ecological benefits of the population dynamics of plants, herbivores and predators, without the intervention of humans.  The rewilding movement has spun off to take a proper look at land use economics, hydrology and the wider science of Ecological services. The economics of nature and the fundamental flaws in our current economic system are at the heart of all human wildlife conflict and Peter has spent his career learning about the ecological and economic tools that can mitigate such conflict and allow humanity and nature to flourish.

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, the buffering of floods & droughts and 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 and how we can all benefit and properly compensate or mitigate those that loose out.

A proper compensation strategy, based on understanding 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 Wales’s Ecological Renaissance, allowing all to benefit by following the forgotten advice of Wales’s greatest minds including, Robert Owen, Aneurin Bevan,  Bertrand Russell & even David Lloyd George!

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