Rewilding half the planet? OK, if WE do it


Where “WE” means ALL humans, of course.

Rewilding half the planet? OK, if WE do it /img/keystone-species.jpg

Rewilding is about letting nature take care of itself, and it’s time to do it, say scientists.

Why rewild half the Earth, in five points

In September 2020, the United Nations rightly accused world leaders of failing to halt biodiversity collapse. A scientist says that the cheapest fix of that problem is to return half of the planet to nature. Synthesizing:

  1. Biodiversity collapse is as bad for humans as it is for wildlife. Pandemics happen as a direct result of biodiversity loss. Keeping [tropical] forests and habitats intact, is a natural vaccine for the next coronavirus.
  2. The solution is protecting 50.4% of the earth’s land. Fortunately, there still is enough land that doesn’t overlap with human populations available for preservation, see here./
  3. Protecting half the land will leave enough land to feed humans, because the world was already producing enough food in 2015 to feed 10B people, that is 2.2B more people than are living today. We don’t need more land - we need to fix our broken food system.
  4. Once land is preserved, we need to recreate damaged ecosystems, to allow larger mammals like tigers to migrate between habitats.
  5. All this could cost between $100 and $150 billion a year, that is a fraction of what world governments are spending on pandemic relief.

Go rewilding then. But HOW? And by WHOM?

As you may see by my oldest posts on this topic I have been a fan of rewilding before I even knew that such a word existed. Save forests, not “the tiger”, said me, around 2003.

Humankind is concentrating in cities, for both good and bad reasons, so much rewilding is inevitable and will happen in the next decades anyway. The problem is to make it happen in the right way, that is increasing both biodiversity and human welfare and cohesion.

In order to make that happen, it is crucial to acknowledge the huge role that digital technologies play, willing or not, in this endeavour. This is why I need to add to the list above the two following points:

  1. The rewilding must always be accountable, under clear human responsibility. Say no to automatic “wildness” creators
  2. The “Caves of Steel”, “smart” cities in which humans should cluster to facilitate rewilding must be based on OPEN digital technologies

Image source: The “Keystone Species” Concept by Rewilding Europe

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