Sunday, 7 August 2016
A Vision for Nature
Read this report recently from a group called A Focus on Nature, an independent group of clever young naturalists who have pooled together the aspirations of fellow young naturalists/conservationists into a vision for the natural world by 2050. The report includes art and literature pieces to creatively hold together the more technical aspects of the report; Politics and Economics, Food and Farming, Climate Change, Landscape, Wildlife, Education and Engagement and Health and Development and Infrastructure.
Firstly the most brilliant thing about this report is that it represents a community vision compiled by advice/ideas from e-NGOs policy experts, politicians, corporate representatives and individuals. If there are any unsavoury organisational or individual hidden agendas they are rather well hidden however the overall focus of the report is on the role of 'power houses' rather than individuals or autonomous networks. If you like its more about the organs of the conservation community rather than the blood stream.
The report focuses on 'top down' (not actually the top of anything!) solutions, i.e. from central government and from e-NGOs with e.g. seven priorities for government over the next seven parliaments
1. A 250 year plan for nature, implemented by 2050
2. Renewable Energy tax breaks and subsidies (redirected from the fossil fuel industry)
3. Subsidises for farmers to manage the countryside for wildlife
4. 25% of land and sea to be managed as 'nature reserves'
5. A re-wilding programme
6. 20% of primary school education to be spent outdoors with Natural History becoming a key part of the curriculum
7.Ten city national parks across the UK and the development of urban nature
Needless to say all these objectives are laudable, however in many ways they are also resurrected ideas that have been circulating for decades. Collective memory is potentially a terrible thing, it almost means that each generation has to start from scratch if it does not learn from the success or failures of the previous. In many ways the lesson to learn from history is that humans do not learn from history which is why we keep making mistakes such as putting too much faith in centralised power and not enough faith in individual personal empowerment and autonomy. The main lesson to learn from the previous generation just gone (or on the way out) is that Centralised Government and the E-NGOs are not the answer to the conservation crisis. If it was we wouldn't be sitting on a 60% decline in UK biodiversity over the last few decades.
The conservation crisis can only be solved by a popular movement, an uprising, a cross party, pan organisational movement which includes parts of central government, certain organisations and most importantly individuals across the whole of society. The policies are already there, the central framework already exists. There can be some further improvements , namely the introduction of proportional representation (mainly to reduce the power of central government and increase the power of the populace) and also compulsory teaching of natural history in schools and engagement with the nature reserve network is vital.
The main problems faced today is that policy is not enforced, (incinerators, motorways, developments etc are built on protected habitat- and that trend is escalating) or more likely is not enforceable- the lobbying power of Fundamental Capitalist organisations is far too great to let anything like policies stop them. Our experience with the incinerator at Beddington Farmlands was that the decisions by the High Courts are ultimately determined by the ability to maintain funding of a lengthy legal battle (i.e. who is going to run out of money first). This is Capitalism- its all about who has the most money, not who is right, what is moral or how to preserve a future worth living in? By getting caught up in these lengthy battles is part of the distraction strategy- its literally self-designed to exhaust and destroy the opposition. Fighting is the answer but it has to be the right sort of fighting.
IMHO the next generation should not be focusing too much effort on policy and lobbying governments which are so clearly being run for the benefit of capitalist corporations. The e-NGOS are also very limited on what they can achieve within the limitations of their members sensitivities (whims).
The next generation of naturalists should be focusing on forming their own government, governing the natural history community reaching out to the public themselves, to the autonomous network of naturalists/conservationists and to benevolent corporations and populate the existing framework- almost like a concurrent society which will grow and slowly become bigger than the current 'system'. It is time now for alignment and connection- there are literally thousands of various conservation initiatives, many of which are largely isolated and need the support from the 'organs'- conservation institutions, organisations, network central etc. Likewise the organs will become impoverished and unable to function unless they are re-oxygenated from the autonomous network and the popular movements (the wider decentralised part of the system). In many ways societies are organisms themselves- ironically in the case of the natural history community it is an organism self designing to protect organisms! It's not such much about what our Vision for Nature is but more so what Nature's Vision for Us is- to tune into that and move with it.