- Saving the Planet: it’s all about Markets
Solving the world environment crisis using Nature’s ecosystems as a blueprint as explained in part 2 of this summary means treating market economies as what they are: “economic ecosystems”. The objective is to achieve natural balance within economic ecosystems so that little or nothing is wasted, and to ensure that no more pollution escapes into the environment than can be comfortably absorbed and neutralised by natural processes. Because it is a holistic approach, this “ecosystem economics” applies to every interaction involving economics and ecosystems – to pollution in air, water and land, to greenhouse gas release, wilderness destruction, species decline, over-population, poor agricultural practices, and so on. These interactions happen almost entirely within markets. Look around your home – everything you see, from the clothes you’re wearing, to your fridge and the food in it, to your furniture, the paint on your wall, even the house itself, has got to you via markets, sometimes involving many components and crossing many different regions of the world, coming together in one object. However, up to now all too many markets have been living in a misty Neverland in which profits are made with little or no regard to environmental impact, as if this were an efficient economic model. In fact, it’s highly inefficient because it is so wasteful of valuable, diminishing resources. It is only by bringing reality to these markets that we can have any real hope of rescuing the world from its spiral of environmental decline.
Let me begin by quoting from Peter Wohlleben’s superb, The Hidden Life of Trees: “… out there under the trees, the law of the jungle rules. Every species wants to survive, and each takes from the others what it needs. All are basically ruthless, and the only reason everything doesn’t collapse is because there are safeguards against those who demand more than their due. And one final limitation is an organism’s own genetics: an organism that is too greedy and takes too much without giving anything in return destroys what it needs for life and dies out.” (p.113).
Like so many of you, I have spent my life witnessing the decline of the natural environment of this spectacularly beautiful planet with a deep sense of frustration at the seeming inability of mankind to protect the world on which he depends for his very survival. This wilful neglect has gone unchecked for so long that it is even changing the climate, creating an existential threat to humankind.
At the same time, I have always believed passionately in science and in the inimitable workings of evolution. Charles Darwin – a fellow free-thinker from another century who achieved heights of revelation I could only dream of – has been my idol. If scientific discoveries have led us to this place, can science not show us the way out, I asked myself? So some twenty years ago I began to investigate why this extraordinary dichotomy should exist, to enquire what underlying evolutionary reasons could bring the most intelligent entity on the planet to rush so unremittingly towards his own decline and possible destruction in the full knowledge of what he is doing. I began to view it as a phenomenon - one that, like all other things in the Universe, must have a rational, scientific explanation.
An Introduction to Junglenomics
- Flying into danger.
You may have heard a lot of people talking and writing about solutions to the world environmental crisis. I certainly have – they’ve been at it for decades. But do you ever wonder why, with some of the best brains in the world and billions of dollars thrown at it, still the relentless environmental slide goes on? Many of the things they advocate seem so sensible – electric cars, cutting down on meat, clean power, recycling, certification of goods - the list is long. Unfortunately, the stats show that none of this is really working. As a result, a spate of new environmental movements has sprung up, quite rightly demanding much bigger change. The remarkable Greta Thunberg has firmly pointed the finger at those with power and influence, demanding they do something to solve the crisis – not just more tinkering but something big and bold. Yet still there is no comprehensive plan – no blueprint to follow either for the immediate or the long-term future of the planet. We should be demanding to know why.
We watched episode 3 of Dynasties last night, presented by the indefatigable Sir David Attenborough. Set in Kenya’s Masai Mara, it told the story of an exceptionally resourceful lioness, ‘Charm’, and her number two, ‘Sienna’, and their struggles to feed and protect their extended young family – the remnants of the famous Marsh Pride. https://www.facebook.com/TheMarshPride/ Deserted by the males, Charm and her band of young and adolescent lions faced the same challenges that her forebears have done for thousands of years – among them marauding hyena, aggressive buffalo, and the potentially lethal, slashing horns of those they would prey on – chiefly wildebeest.