Today we reproduce the paper by Jesse Ausubel (Rockefeller University) that presents a thoroughly contrasting and generally positive view to that we reviewed last week from Pope Francis encyclical Laudato Si, which presented the meme in today’s world that we are slowly (or perhaps even rapidly in some instances) destroying our global environment. The positive trends Ausubel analyzes and presents are compelling considered in themselves, but leave out the higher recursion level, which is no doubt present in the context of massive degradation, not only of oceans which ausubel recognizes but also of most natural systems despite the positive afforestation and return of lands to nature that do exist.
Dear Future Ready Now co-design Lab guests,
It is with much regret that we are forced to move the dates of our work session to September 19-22, 2015.
All of us, organizers, conveners, co-founders and guests alike have worked hard and adjusted our schedules to be able to join forces in Milan and be part of this important work session. World Expo organizers have been a backbone of the effort, working behind the scenes to support the execution of this program, providing access to the public event, key in raising awareness and positioning our session, and also facilitating the venue and some funding to make it happen. Recent developments and conflicting high level events with World Expo made it necessary to reschedule their public event of June 22, and therefore their support of our associated June program as well.
Agri Investor reported on the Lab event we have planned in Milan to start discussions around a $1 billion grassland restoration fund. The wider aim of the project Future Ready Now is to be working on the restoration of 1 billion hectares of degraded grasslands globally by 2025. This incubation stage of a project will attract high-profile celebrities to a launch gala event on Sep 19 (date changed) followed by three days of meetings of the so-called Investors Co-design Lab.
Over vast areas of the world, and particularly in Africa most risk and disasters are associated with drought and flood both increasing in severity and frequency. Not as a result of climate change as so often touted but being symptoms of non-effective rainfall or desertification. These regions not being subject to tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, etc. Allan Savory brings this to crystal clarity in this graphic example, which shows that very differently from theoretical models of effective rainfall (r.g. FAO) it is the local practices on the land that most influence rain’s effectiveness.
“In a million years, I never thought that cows could be so beneficial for the wildlife I love . . . As an ecologist I was taught that people, and especially their livestock, are the enemy of wildlife, but my journey from Africa to the Arctic to here in Montana, is forcing me to rethink everything I know about conservation.”
Fifty years ago, President Johnson signed The Wilderness Act. In that same year, he also dramatically escalated the war in Vietnam. As Errol Morris’ Oscar-winning Vietnam documentary The Fog of War details, America vastly underestimated the resolve and desires of the local population, and that is a key reason why we lost the war.
I fear we may be at risk of losing the war to save nature for a similar reason.
The environmental movement has long been dominated by an understanding that “untrammeled” nature is the end goal and that people are generally bad for nature. This perception is right there in The Wilderness Act itself, which defines “wilderness” as a place absent from the influences of humans: “where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Humans, in this view, are separate from nature.
Yet reality is that Earth has entered a new epoch that scientists call the Anthropocene, literally meaning “Earth in the age of man.” I’ve just returned from an epic two-year quest to witness the state of wild places in this new epoch for a new PBS and National Geographic TV series called “Earth: A New Wild” (airing in spring 2015). What I found is that the wild can thrive, but only if we bring people into the picture.
Judith Schwartz in her post “Just Planting Trees Won’t Stop March of Deserts” examines two views from different perspectives to stave off the loss of fertile land by challenging the conventional wisdom of merely planting more trees.
When the rain comes, will your soil be ready? Management of grasslands is paramount to the health of our soil and water resources. Recently, conservationists with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in South Dakota have been studying the effects that management has on soil properties, such as infiltration, and the results are dramatic. Studies like these show that infiltration is significantly impacted by the management practices being implemented on the land.
Increased infiltration resulting from better management means that the water that falls on an operation will benefit that operation. Changes in management don’t have to be drastic to have a positive influence on infiltration and ultimately the health of your natural resources and your bottom line.