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

Sunday, 16 October 2016

St Ambrose of Milan & the Causes of Poverty & Environmental Damage Today

A friend sent me some choice quotes from St. Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397), who could have wrote these yesterday and not in the 4th century.  A man who understood the natural world and that the fundamental causes of poverty and evil all stem from the private ownership and exploitation of the gifts of nature.

This got me thinking, while I was just reviewing my pension today, the main reason I will live in penury in my old age is rent, not just rent of a house or the high cost of a mortgage but all the rents on all the things we have in life in a million complex ways that pervade our society. To get around this many old people cling on to property they do not need, and vehemently oppose the one fundamental solution to poverty and environment damage..... taxes on land. Thus we make the situation worse for all and the future, from our greed and fear today.

Poverty and environmental destruction today both stem from the private wealth to be generated from forcing rent onto to the poor and the money to be made from exploiting nature for private gain. A tax on land and environmental destruction, offsetting other taxes, is the fundamental solution to all the worlds problems, recognised by the leading thinkers throughout history including St Ambrose.....  From Aristotle to Einstein, from Henry Ford to Benjamin Franklin. from Winston Churchill to Confucius history's greatest thinkers have all saw the wisdom of using economic rent as public revenue and its vital place in lifting humanity to greater heights. Yet still our political systems serves the rich, lazy and powerful who milk the rest of humanity through such a monopoly, a monopoly that devastated economies, creates poverty, drives us to war and to destroy our beautiful planet and its wildlife....

The Quotes of St Ambrose:

"In the beginning people practiced the natural policy, after the example of the birds, so that both work and honors were common, and people knew how to divide among themselves the obligations as well as the rewards and power, so that no one was left without reward, not free from labor. This was a most beautiful state of things. . .Then the lust after power came in, and people began claiming undue powers, and not relinquishing those they had."

"Why do you {the rich} drive out of their inheritance people whose nature is the same as yours, claiming for yourselves alone the possession of all the land? The land was made to be common to all, the poor and the rich. Why do you, oh rich, claim for yourselves alone the right to the land?"

"The world has been made for all, and a few of you rich try to keep it for yourselves. For not only the ownership of the land, but even the sky, the air, and the sea, a few rich people claim for themselves. . .Do the angels divide the space in heaven, as you do when you set up property marks on earth?"

"When you give to the poor, you give not of your own, but simply return what is his, for you have usurped that which is common and has been given for the common use of all. The land belongs to all, not to the rich; and yet those who are deprived of its use are many more than those who enjoy it."

"God our Lord willed that this land be the common possession of all and give its fruit to all. But greed distributed the right of possessions. Therefore, if you claim as your private property part of what was granted in common to all human beings and to all animals, it is only fair that you share some of this wealth with the poor, so that you will not deny nourishment to those who are also partakers of your right {by which you hold this land}."

"Greed is the cause of our want. The birds have abundant natural food because they have received in common that which is necessary for their nourishment, and they do not know how to claim private ownership. By claiming the private, we lose the common."
"Why do you consider things in the world as possessions {proprium}, when the world is common? Why do you consider the fruits of the land private when the land is common? Birds, who own nothing, lack nothing."

"Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as mercy: mercy as shown chiefly towards the poor, that you may treat them as sharers in common with you in the produce of nature, which brings forth the fruit of the earth for use to all."

"But this is not even in accord with nature, for nature has poured forth all things for all men for common use. God has ordered all things to be produced, so that there should be food in common to all, and that the earth should be the common possession of all. Nature, therefore, has produced a common right for all, but greed has made it a right for a few."

Another great quote shared bu my friend is this one, penned by the great 6th-century Greek hymnographer St. Romanos the Melodist, also resonated with me:

"The rich man is exalted above the poor, he devours all his substance:
The peasant toils, the landlord harvests; the one labours, the other is at ease."

Thanks to Jared Baker from Summerville, South Carolina‎ for his research that unearthed this work

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