Friday, November 30, 2007

Alan's list

2009: Wild bison herds roam extensive tracts of North America
2014: Iceland becomes the first country to be entirely fossil fuel free (using hydrogen as an energy vector)
2019: No trees used in the production of paper
2023: The entire world declared free of land mines
2039: Renewable energy supplies all the world's energy needs
2043: Ganges water is clean enough to drink at Banares
2065: There are 25,000 tigers living in the wild
2074: The 'ecological conversion' of all major cities is completed
Unlike J F Kennedy's 1961 vision of a man on the moon within in a decade, none of this needs new technology. Or so said Alan Watson Featherstone, founder of Trees for Life, at a lunch today at the House of Lords hosted by John Walton in support of the Earth Restoration Service. Alan imagined his son telling one day his grandson that "it all started with individuals here and there deciding to act. When they began to work with nature, rather than against her, the Earth responded."

The necessity to act is clear, said ERS officers Peter Phelps and Andreas Kornevall, and Mary Kay LeFevour of their partner the Society for Ecological Restoration. They reminded those present of the seriously scary picture in UNEP's recent 4th Global Environmental Outlook, and outlined their ambition to help forge a UN Ecological Restoration Convention to sit beside the Climate Change Convention and the Biodiversity Convention.

The 1992 Biodiversity Convention set 2010 as the year by which the loss of life forms world wide was to be reversed. But the rate of extinctions has increased. I've heard elsewhere that it's been suggested 2010 be called the 'Year of Death'. So it's time to get busy (see this article about GEO4 for a very brief introduction to the idea that biodiversity matters to both rich and poor).

I happened to sit next to Alan Watson Featherstone during the lunch, and mentioned I had volunteered in Glenn Affric in 1993. Among other good memories a male capercaillie that seemed to think it was Daniel Craig.
The bird would block the path of our Landrover and bump up against the front of the vehicle, trying to face us down. Alan said the bird had died sometime in the early nineties, and no capercaillies had been seen in the Glen since. There were now seeing quite a number of black grouse, though.

He also said ERS and its partners were encouraging people to come forward with their ideas for a list of goals in ecological restoration in the 21st century. ERS has a blog here.

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