The thoughts behind the Renegade Ecologist

From my 30 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

Friday, 26 June 2015

Beavers in Britian

A history of Beaver in Britain , a lecture by me at a small rewilding Britain Conference. This contains my knowledge of the history of beaver, 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 Lecture was given at Wildwood Trust at a Conference on Rewilding Britain by the conservation organisation 'A Focus on Nature'

What is Rewilding & What are we doing about it

A short Film made in 2012 by Charlie Tanner highlighting the work of Wildwood Trust in its charitable work to rewild Britain. This is an excellent introduction to Rewilding and Charlie captured it well for this video she made for her MSc project, Charlie has volunteered and Worked for the Trust and filmed many of its animals. In an in depth interview with me, she learns of the efforts of the Trust to rewild our countryside and reintroduce animals like the lynx, beaver and Wild horse.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Why the Pope Should Promote the Taxation of Nature's Destruction & Not Just its Love

The Pope has come out with a wonderful statement about why we should love nature and George Monbiot writes an excellent article in the Guardian today looking into this and sophistry around why people destroy nature for perceived personal gain, ignoring the damage we are doing.

This is a perfect Example of the 'Tragedy of the Privates' as I like to call it, why individuals making individual decisions alway make the choice to do things that destroy nature and abuse land for short term finacial gain, and the perverse incentives the system of private ownership of nature's gifts to us ensure's their abuse & destruction.

The economic forces pushing us to destroy nature and land is pervasive throughout the world and forms the very basis of our financial, banking & political systems. Its contumacious virtues extolled in our corporate media and enshrined in legal systems and pushed to ever greater heights of absurdity by trade treaties such as the The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP.

But the issue, as Monbiot alludes, should not be about how to make people value nature more than their bank accounts, as many will never do that, it is for the green movement to push policies that align people's bank balances with saving nature. To this end land use and environmental damage needs to become the basis of our taxation system and not productive work that causes little damage to others and our environment. Land Value Taxes, monopoly taxes and externality taxes like a carbon tax could all achieve a titanic shift in how we use nature and allow its restoration in an economy that protects peoples wealth and wellbeing and shares all efficiently and equitably. Land Value Taxes will instantly allow us to rewild our marginal land and see the complex ecology return and provide us with a secure future for our children by combating the calamitous consequences of climate change and the loss of our biodiversity and the ecosystem services we depend on.

This will also have the effect of increasing the value of labour and doing more to reduce poverty, than any other form of income redistribution as well explained by many economists such as Stiglitz or classical economists like Henry George, Adam Smith or even briefly by Karl Marx. This is because it makes the earth, and its destruction, a treasury for all and allows no elite to monopolise it, sucking the wealth out of the rest of humanity. The green movement needs to recognise this more than the need to stimulate wonder and mystical enchantment in the intrinsic value of our natural world and revel in its gestalt, which often has little effect apart from making people feel warm and fuzzy. Such an economic system would turn us all into rabid 'greenies' irrespective of wonder or love - but we have to ask the question why the green movement cannot push these policies: I blogged on this issue some time ago - Zen & the art of Land Value Tax: For an indepth analysis of the Pope's encyclical read this excellent article on by Fred Foldvery:

How do we stop the Insect Apocalypse?

There have been a number of articles this week on the insect apocalypse, with some studies showing an 80% drop in insect numbers since the l...