NANFA-- The Future of Life

Christopher Scharpf (
Thu, 20 Jun 2002 23:15:56 -0400

While you're reading "The Skeptical Environmentalist" do yourself a favor
and also read "The Future of Life" by Edward O. Wilson. It's a thin book,
only $22 retail. Even if you don't read the whole thing, read the last
chapter, "The Solution." You'll find that one of the world's leading
biologists presents a measured and balanced solution to the biodiversity
crisis that strips away political ideology to find common ground where
economic progress and conservation are treated as the same goal.

The key elements to protecting most of the Earth's remaining ecosystems and
species are:

* Salvage immediately the world's biological hotspots (e.g., southern

* Keep intact the world's 5 remaining frontier forests (e.g., Amazon,
temperate forests of Canada & Alaska).

* Cease all logging of old-growth forests everywhere, and let secondary
native forests recover.

* Concentrate on lakes and rivers everywhere; they're the most threatened
ecosystems on the planet.

* Define marine hotspots and afford them the same protection as terrestrial

* Complete the mapping of the world's biodiversity.

* Ensure that the full range of the world's ecosystems (e.g., deserts,
arctic tundra) are included in a GLOBAL conservation strategy.

* Make conservation profitable. Give landowners proprietary interest in the
natural environment and engage them professionally in its protection.
Demonstrate to developing countries that ecotourism, bio-prospecting, and
credit trades of wild land can yield more income than logging and farming.

* Use biodiversity more effectively to benefit the world economy.

* Increase restoration efforts to increase the share of Earth allotted to

* Increase the capacity of zoos and botanical gardens to breed endangered

* Support population planning. Help guide humanity everywhere to a smaller
biomass, and a more secure and enjoyable future with biodiversity
flourishing around it.

For details, read the book. It's very hopeful. Here's the last sentence:

"A civilization able to envision God and to embark on the colonization of
space will surely find the way to save the integrity of this planet and the
magnificent life it harbors."

Good night all.

Chris Scharpf
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