Global Ecological Reserves to Avoid Global Ecological Armageddon

A recent examination of the Earth's “vital signs” reveals alarming environmental
decline, poverty and disease largely as a result of humanity's environmentally
destructive activities. Despite promises by rich countries to finance biodiversity
conservation and other environmental programs, global ecological sustainability
and social stability is threatened as never before. Below are three reports on
the extent to which humanity has desecrated the Earth's life-giving natural
systems, and the utter and unforgivable failure to pursue policies adequate to
address global ecological meltdown.
Human health and economy are completely and utterly dependent upon the
planet's ecosystems; such as rainforests and other ecosystems which provide
water, contribute to soil formation, regulate climate and filter air. Despite
widely known scientific certainty of the ecological nature of being, virtually no
progress has been made towards global environmental sustainability. The
World's affluent are primarily responsible for the Planet's current ecological
crisis: having consumed disproportionately and destructively for centuries, and
refusing to address surging human suffering and environmental decline as long
as their coffers remain full.
Consumption choices of the rich, environmentally destructive human activities,
ineffective management and burgeoning pollution – combined with a lack of
political will and money – means the World's species and cumulative ecosystem
processes continue to be disrupted and destroyed. The ecological fabric of
being is fraying – indeed being ripped apart – for short term economic well
being of a relative few.
Dr. Raven of the Missouri Botanical Garden, delivering the annual Darwin
lecture, made clear “we are using the Earth's productive systems at an
unsustainable rate.” Raven notes industrialized nations have not risen to the
challenge of creating just, equitable and sustainable societies. Further, if
everyone lived at their standard, it would take another two planets to support
the Earth's population. His policy prescriptions are simple and demanding: “a
stable population, a globally sustainable consumption level, and acceptance of
social justice as the norm for development.”
A major new program to establish a “Global Ecological Reserve” network based
upon the core, buffer corridor model of biosphere reserves is urgently
required. Global ecological sustainability will require strict preservation,
massive habitat restoration, and ecologically sensitive development at many
times current rates of protection and ecologically sustainable management. We
join in calling for serious transfer of resources from North to South to fund
creation of this network. It is estimated that an effective global land and sea
reserve program would cost $45 billion annually, while providing ecosystem
goods and services worth up to $5,200 billion a year. This is a damn good rate
of return on investment – particularly given the alternative is global ecological
Armageddon.

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