Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The real causes of wildlife losses

Martin Hughes-Games (Why Planet Earth II should have been taxed, Guardian, 2/1/17) does well to deplore the appalling loss of wildlife in the last 40 years. See, for example, my posts on apes and wilderness.

But it is ridiculous to blame Attenborough's wonderful documentaries for this and little better to demand a special tax on wildlife programmes. The losses of habitats, creatures and species are due to forces much more powerful than TV programmes. They are due to the increasing numbers of people - us - and our ever increasing demands for land, energy and food, especially meat.

Innate factors account for some of this but much is due outdated nationalism and short-sighted commercialism. Nationalist politicians - themselves a growing breed! - see a large population as a mark of national vigour and a source of economic growth. They use the power of the state and the media to play on our emotions and if that fails they try to ban abortion and contraception.

Businesses seek their own growth by persuading us to be dissatisfied with our lives and, especially, our possessions and diets. They send us to the sales and our spending feeds the juggernaut that each year grabs more and more of the Earth's resources.
This is unsustainable. It will end.
The question is whether we can restrain the forces that demand insatiable growth before they trash the planet - and us with it. Unless we do, and soon, we can say goodbye to the beautiful wild things that Attenborough has documented.
And that requires politicians willing to say stop.

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree with the article, we cannot blame TV programmes for wildlife losses, We are also contributing towards it, our needs force us to have more land by cutting trees and taking shelter from wildlifes.