I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, and actually contribute to the more serious side of things for a change (rather than sitting around trying to expand my meagre knowledge of politics by learning from you lot) now seemed as good a time as any!
Some of you may know I’m a conservation biologist/ecologist, and as a profession we’re trying to answer some tough questions at the moment and sometimes I think we’re all too much in the same mindset and need a fresh perspective. I don’t think we ask “the public” enough (just industry, farmers and other interested “stakeholders”) so, really informally, here’s me, asking you lot what you reckon. I can’t promise your answers will get anywhere, or do anything, other than maybe change the way I think about things: I’m not very senior at the moment, but who knows, one day!
1) How much should we be trying to “turn back the clock” with conservation? Preventing further damage is somewhat less controversial (with some exceptions) but should we be:
a) Removing invasive species, (e.g. grey squirrels) even if this means culling them?
b) Relocating people to create/restore natural areas?
c) Destroying “unnatural” habitats to recreate “pristine” ones
2) How can “we” (the west/developed world etc.) possibly expect/ask/force “them” (developing countries) to protect their biodiversity when we’ve ballsed ours up so spectacularly?! More specifically if we do, how do we go about it?
3) Should “nature” earn its keep? For example sustainable hunting of African wildlife, where the revenue is ploughed back into conservation.
4) By the same token should we be “paying for ecosystem services”: a good example of this is pollinators, should farmers be paying towards the maintenance of bee populations that pollinate their crops (whether wild or “beekeepered”)
That’s all I can think of, off the top of my head on a Monday, I may add more if I can think of them!
Finally, my thread my rules: if this gets heated all name calling must be highly creative, and no swearing. (I’m thinking Monty Python’s “your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries”) Double points for being animal related, quadruple points for Latin names!