Feeds

back to article Nature ISN'T fragile nor a bossy mother-in-law - top eco boffin

The Green movement needs to rethink its philosophy from the ground-up. That's according to Peter Kareiva, a leading conservation expert and chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy, the world's biggest environmental group. It must abandon the idea that nature is "feminine" and in particular that it's "fragile", he said, …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Best interests? Whose interests?

The Nature Conservancy - take a guess who its main funders are... Take a guess how many lobbyist scandals it has been involved in...

When you know the history behind the organisation (don't rely on a heavily moderated Wikipedia article) is it any wonder they're feeding BS to the public?

PS On top of the huge wedges of cash they get from private firms they also have access to a large chunk of US tax payers' contributions. They got access to those funds using funding and lobbying from their main funders, in an effort to make the organisation appear to be more credible.

9
10
Anonymous Coward

Re: Best interests? Whose interests?

So hang on a minute:

They are bad because they are funded by Lobbyist?

Yet in the same paragraph, you say that they are also bad because they are funded by private firms AND by the Tax Payer.

I wonder what is your definition of a Lobbiyst, and which is in your eye the "proper" way for any of these organizations to be funded.

8
1
FAIL

Re: Best interests? Whose interests?

I never said they were funded by lobbyists. I said they got access to government funding (grants) because of lobbying by the corporations who provide the majority of The Nature Conservancy's income.

2
7
Facepalm

Re: Best interests? Whose interests?

So instead of "a heavily moderated Wikipedia article" I should...rely on the argument by bald-faced assertion of a random El Reg commentard whom I don't know from Adam's off ox? Gotcha.

6
4
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Best interests? Whose interests?

Not you again!

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1347841

We're going to have to start giving out Prizes.

4
2
WTF?

Re: Best interests? Whose interests?

Tzael, you're making everyone have to hear that the dynamic between individuals who are on the black and white sides of the fence, and the quiet majority in between that don't know what information to believe. As not many people seem to exercise critical thinking, and just believe the easiest thing that allows them to go back to drinking beer, even if it is to tell anyone who brings up little facts that bring a whole argument into question to shut up. So Shut Up, you're making me think and it makes me... just kidding :P You're also arguing with a lot of people who don't know the difference between radiation therapy based chemicals, and the chemicals formed by an uncontrolled meltdown... which the further away from Japan they are, the more nothing is happening and everything is under control, or could never be as bad as it is. Let's build more nuclear plants, eh? We're not being poisoned fast enough? Does my bringing up these questions make me an environmental nut? Whole swaths of society have been over generalized to the point that when people start any kind of debate, it turns into a competition of debasement. But that's just my opinion, what do I know?

0
0
Ru
Meh

"enhance those natural systems that benefit the widest number of people"

Right, excellent! It really is as easy as that. Someone buy that man a drink.

Now, how does one know, a priori, a) which natural systems those are and b) what they actually comprise? Here's an easy answer for you: one cannot. Natural systems are complex, to say the least, and we simply don't understand, therefore to act cautiously and seek to preserve rather than selectively ignore and hope for the best is the most sensible approach, surely?

That said, there's no reason why a pragmatic approach to ecology needs to be a punishment for humans, as so may extreme greenies seem to believe. I'm all for fracking and nuclear power, because the alternatives are so much worse, but I do feel very strongly that many current industrial and agricultural policies are going to cause significant long term damage. Sure, nature will carry on, because it has survived a snowball earth and massive volcanic eruptions and asteroid strikes and a few too many pesticides aren't going to kill it off right now. That doesn't mean it'll still be quite so useful to us all in a hundred years time.

22
0

Re: "enhance those natural systems that benefit the widest number of people"

Spot on. No (sensible) person thinks that nature is going to 'die', although it is beyond doubt that humanity is capable of (and has had great success at) 'weakening it' by reducing biodiversity.

It is however quite plausible that we could alter it sufficiently to cause ourselves as a high-in-the-food-chain species major problems.

And that's assuming you don't consider the loss of species at a shocking rate as an innately bad thing - whereas I suspect that most people do consider this bad, and would rather not have to explain to their grandchildren why there are no more tigers, whales or bees.

Sure we may be able to survive in an ecosystem without tigers, whales or bees. But if we can avoid it, surely it's better not to find out.

3
2
Silver badge

"When people believe that a fragile "Mother Nature" is harmed by anything humans do, it's actually the humans who suffer"

Satellite imaging suggests otherwise.

By "humans who suffer" basically he means "some people can't just do whatever they like without any consequences". Well, boo hoo. Welcome to Real Life™ You're confusing wants with needs.

Actual suffering caused by protecting the environment than, you know, we live in is pretty well non-existent.

8
8
FAIL

"Actual suffering caused by protecting the environment than, you know, we live in is pretty well non-existent."

The "than" in these kindof obfuscates your position. I'm going to assume you mean "that".

So, I think you're mistaken. There's that video of a little doctor's shack in Africa that has wonderful, renewable and EXPENSIVE energy in the form of a solar panel on the roof. Said panel produces enough electricity to run the refrigirtator, which keeps the medicine cool, or the light bulb, which means the doctor can work after dark.

But not at the same time.

Then compare, if you will, the number of deaths caused by nuclear power to the number of deaths caused by, say coal power. Or even wind power.

The suffering is real.

8
2
Anonymous Coward

Oh right

Those DDT bans didn't affect malaria rates in third world countries at all did they, and the new carbon regimes wouldn't retard living standard improvements in those same third world countries either would it?

He must have been talking just about "first world problems" because life is peachy everywhere else.

13
3

Re: Oh right

WOW! A DDT Troll on the register! I thought you guys were extinct!

You know mosquitos developed resistance to that, right?

8
11
Devil

non-existant?

Tell that to the people who are forced to pay outrageous prices for their shark fin soup!

4
0
Trollface

Re: Oh right DDT resistance

"DDT can still be effective against resistant mosquitoes,[98] and the avoidance of DDT-sprayed walls by mosquitoes is an additional benefit of the chemical.[96] For example, a 2007 study reported that resistant mosquitoes avoided treated huts." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT#Mosquito_resistance

10
0
Devil

Re: Oh right DDT resistance

The point is that there are better ways to deal with the problem now, and that DDT is actually still in use where it is the best solution and doesn't pose an environmental hazard.

That's why I called 'troll', and I was right.

2
5
Silver badge

Satelite Images

I call your bluff.

Get onto Google Earth (http://maps.google.com/) . Zoom out to approx 1 inch = 200 miles and pretty much all the features you see are natural.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: David

My point was simply that we do not live in a vacuum and that the OP was being an ass with a comment like this:

"humans who suffer" basically he means "some people can't just do whatever they like without any consequences". Well, boo hoo.

We should not pretend that our actions and decisions have no impact outside our comfortable little first world bubbles.

Regarding DDT I think it's specious to claim no impact whatsoever from the Silent Spring backlash and Stockholm treaties - on the flip side I think it's also overstating things to blame millions of deaths on it. Truth is rarely straight black or white, although many argue it as such.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh right DDT resistance

If the point is that, "there are better ways to deal with the problem now,," then why did you say, "You know mosquitos developed resistance to that, right?"

Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to say, oh, I don't know, "There are better ways to deal with the problem now?"

Or were you, in fact, posting from under the bridge yourself?

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Excellent Article Andrew

Good repost to the doom and end of the world sayers. These muppets always push for one agenda or law then whoops forget the law of untended consequences.

Class example is mink farms, the idiotic tree huggers released farmed mink into the wild which proceeded to devastate the UK's rare vole population and other assorted species.

13
9
Silver badge

The green movement did more damage to environmental causes with their rabid, blinkered hatred of everything nuclear than any other damage. How? Because in place of nuclear power stations, coal and oil ones were built which are much more damaging to the environment.

As a result many countries, including the UK, are facing impending energy shortages and have no viable plan to ramp up energy production to keep up with demand.

21
8
Coat

Hah I don't know whether to upvote or downvote your post! You paint environmentalists with a broad brush stroke conveying a very negative impression - downvote deserved. Then you rightly point out that it is fear of nuclear power that has helped fossil fuel and highly inefficient renewables (i.e. wind power) to prevail - upvote deserved.

Hmm, need a clincher - and for that I think it's best to point out that it;s the general public who have a fear of nuclear power, whereas most environmentalists I liaise with are keen to promote nuclear as a green source of energy. Downvote it is, sorry!

6
5
Bronze badge

I had the same dilemma and ended up up-voting so it's all good.

3
0
Thumb Down

You're dividing your simplistic black and white world along the wrong line. Small 'c' conservatives and luddites are the main opponents to nuclear power, progressives and scientists have generally been in favour of it. The idea that this has any useful correlation with the 'green' movement is presumably based entirely on the fact that Greenpeace has the word 'green' in its name and is generally opposed to nuclear power.

1
2

What, pray tell, is a progressive?

Binary world views are stupid.

2
2
Silver badge

"The green movement did more damage to environmental causes with their rabid, blinkered hatred of everything nuclear than any other damage. How? Because in place of nuclear power stations, coal and oil ones were built which are much more damaging to the environment."

Sorry, in Andrew's world the coal and oil are not damaging the environment, so you lose, apparently.

3
1
WTF?

@David Dawson

Progressive is the opposite of conservative/reactionary. It's a fairly common term. Is your version of Google broken or something?

And I'm aware that binary world views are stupid ... that was essentially my point.

What are you bibbling on about?

0
2

This post has been deleted by a moderator

@Some beggar

And I'm aware that binary world views are stupid ... that was essentially my point.

-------

It was?

I was asking what you meant by progressive, given that it is by definition in opposition to a conservative, neither of which seem to have any relation to nukes. Ho hum

2
1
WTF?

I think you need to re-read what I wrote. Twice.

0
3
Silver badge

a fragile "Mother Nature" is harmed by anything humans do

So humans are automatically bad.

Leading to the conundrum that a dam built by a beaver is natural but one built by humans isn't; that a termite mound is natural but a city isn't; that a flight by an albatross is natural but a 747 isn't...

If the people who espoused these views had the courage of their arguments, their only ethical response would be immediate suicide. Me, I'm a *natural* human, showing the same responses to stimuli as any other organism and equally breeding like mad (well actually, no, but you get the idea) and using as many resources as I can get my hands on.

The difference is that I can suffer the angst about it later.

Standing by for down-arrows...

13
5
Bronze badge

Re: a fragile "Mother Nature" is harmed by anything humans do

Neil, its all about scale and more specificly energy.

Animal populations naturally level out at the resource levels the environment can sustain

4
4
Silver badge

Re: a fragile "Mother Nature" is harmed by anything humans do

"Animal populations naturally level out at the resource levels the environment can sustain"

Is that really so? How can then evolution be explained? Mother Nature seems to always want to find ways of getting access to more resources and energy every time it hits the stops. Humans are not an exception.

4
2
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: a fragile "Mother Nature" is harmed by anything humans do

"Animal populations naturally level out at the resource levels the environment can sustain"

Yes, and humans are no exception to that rule. Luckily so far, technology has sustained our ability to support growing populations by increasing the resources available to us. Of course this could continue in the future (for example we better harness the available uranium / thorium resources via more nuclear technology, or further down the line utilise deuterium etc resources for fusion, and so on).

The thing to keep in mind, though, is, there is never any guarantee that our technology advances will keep pace with the advances in resource requirements, and resource requirements are rising remarkably fast now because not only are populations rising but also resource use per capita is rising even more steeply.

One side of this argument should realise that future resource availability (eg oil) is not guaranteed, and they'd better have some sort of plan to keep future resource availability in mind, not just take what they can now and screw the future. The other side should realise that simply obstructing any and every measure for new development will eventually block the development of new resources.

The trick, as always, is in the balance

4
0

Re: a fragile "Mother Nature" is harmed by anything humans do

"Animal populations naturally level out at the resource levels the environment can sustain"

And HOW do those "animal" populations level out their resource levels? By using too much and then suffering the consequences in terms of population loss.

You have just rather wondefully made the EXACT point the article was making. Your only mistake was to use the word "animal" as if we are not one.

5
0
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: a fragile "Mother Nature" is harmed by anything humans do

James - "Yes, and humans are no exception to that rule"

If that was true we'd have died out a long time ago - we wouldn't be here.

Overcoming natural constraints is what makes humans different.

2
2
Bronze badge
Flame

Re: a fragile "Mother Nature" is harmed by anything humans do

ok ok , when i said

"Animal populations naturally level out at the resource levels the environment can sustain"

it may have siounded like an obvious ' nothing' statement

I accept we humans will , by the proverbial "laws of nature" do the same thing

But ,Bassey, i didnt get the impression that the point the article was making was that 3/4 of the current human population will have to die . I thought it was a cheery mesage of " carry on doing what the fuck you want, theres nothing to worry about"

The current population is 20 times that that it was 200 years ago for one reason only - energy, specifically OIL .

do the math

read the book "The party'sover" by Richard Heisengberg - paying particular attention to the early chapters where he talks about the role of energy in animal ecosystems

1
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: "New Establishment".

".....Did I type Daily Mash into my browser by mistake?" No, but many here would wish you had.

0
0
Bronze badge

Demise

"In many circumstances, the demise of formerly abundant species can be inconsequential to ecosystem function."

"Nature is so resilient that it can recover rapidly from even the most powerful human disturbances," scientists now conclude. Well, some of them do.

Sure. Of course this resilience doesn't mean our disturbances couldn't make us a formerly abundant species the demise of which would be inconsequential to 'nature'.

6
0
Bronze badge

In the grand sceme of things man is mainly bad for himself ,

The earth abides

Nature will hapily carry on without us

I think the problem seems to be that the "plan" is to inhabit the small blue planet with an exponentially rising population currently at 7 billion

6
1
Silver badge

So

What's so problematic about that plan?

2
1

Not exponential

The best it can be said is that its linearly, but even thats in doubt for the future predictions.

Still increasing, quite quickly of course, but after the initial population booms in many developing countries, population numbers are stabilising.

Europes developed populations are now stable, and without immigration would be on a gentle decrease as our populations age.

Education, medicine and decent jobs will give people in the rest of the world the confidence not to have loads of kids in the hope some of them will make it long enough to look after them in their old age.

4
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Not exponential

Yes, world population will eventually level off IF the whole world will reach the level of development currently achieved in 1st-world countries. UN projections are that global population will stabilise at around 9 bln.

1
0

Nature isn't fragile, but human beings are. The world will survive after we've wiped ourselves out, however we chose to do it. The long term needs of humanity are best served by making sure the planet stays in a relatively stable state that suits humans. Short term benefits to humans/economies are often directly opposed to the long term good of a human suitable eco-system.

3
0
Silver badge

Long term needs

The long term needs of humanity are best served by making sure we expand beyond just one planet, rather than relax and live comfortable on it. In that sense our short terms benefits are actually quite in line with the long term ones - achievement of the former creates incentives to a work towards the latter, before it's too late.

2
1
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Interesting piece. It has strong echoes of how someone like Darwin saw nature. In excerpts of his journal published in "A Narrative of the Voyage of HMS Beagle" his descriptions of landscapes and natural scenes are surprisingly utilitarian, focusing very much of how the landscape could be used to man's benefit. Not at all what many modern environmentalists would expect.

I think Kareiva is dead right that a more balanced view is needed. I have seen several efforts to set up reservations and protect species at the expense of the local population in Africa fail. Likewise I have seen other efforts in which the local population benefits be highly successful. Not really surprising when you think of it.

2
1
Bronze badge

But what is the "balanced view"?

All that the ecomovement produced are nature preserves, museums for tourists to trundle through and marvel at what the world was in the Eocene. Does the balanced view mean simply smaller nature preserves?

0
0
Silver badge

Re: But what is the "balanced view"?

I simply mean that if each side demonize the other, we do not get anywhere.

Making money is not evil in any way, nor is preserving nature. It is not wrong to hunt, or cut down trees, it is wrong to hunt creatures to extinction, and wantonly cutting down trees in such a way that whole forests disappear. A forest can be productive, and yet be a nature reserve (many are). If creating large nature reserves means chasing farmers off their land, you not going to make any friends. It causes resentment, and locals often start justifying poaching. If you make nature reserves that include sustainable farms, sustainable wood production, sustainable hunting and tourism, you get a win-win situation. Locals then tend to help track poachers, rather than be the poachers. You do not have to go to Africa for good examples. In the Netherlands many farmers contribute to care for the environment.

1
0
Thumb Down

I'd never say nature is fragile, but I'm not happy with the opinion that humans can't twist nature to serve them without unintended consequences. It's a very complicated and poorly understood system, and changing it often results in unforeseen consequences which often have a direct, negative impact on man:

Salination of crop land in Egypt.

Salination of crop land in California.

Dust bowl in the US and Canada in the 30s.

Soil erosion in the amazon rain forest due to deforestation.

Soil erosion in southwest China due to human activities.

I'd agree that nature will balance itself out in the end, but lets not forget that humans are a part of nature and we might be subject to balancing out.

5
1

What's to balance?

Mass extinction has happened before, and who knows...we might be in line. Or we might just make the planet a miserable mess to inhabit. That was the point of the article. We are not destroying anything, just potentially shitting all over our bed.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.