The idea of protecting our life-support system may sound strangely far out, all too obvious, or like it’s ridiculously not-a-problem.
And then consider that less than 23% of old growth ecosystems remain on land today— and most of that is tundra and desert. And less than 13% of old growth ecosystems remain in oceans and significant portions of those areas are “deserts” as well…You might change your mind.
The only way to protect our life support system, i.e. old growth wildernesses, from further intrusion, fragmentation, degradation, pollution and destruction — is to just do it. To actually protect them forever.
That’s simple enough.
But doing it, obviously, requires economic transformation. Now and fast.
“Transforming the economy” literally means transforming our most destructive industries, such as Food production, Road development, and Fossil Fuel drilling — into biospheric asset generators and stewards. Doing this will require enormous investment, but if we don’t go from degenerative development to regenerative development in the Developing World right now, we will lose Earth’s remaining old growth wildernesses, which is to say — the remaining undisturbed architecture of our planetary life support system.
We have less than 10 years to fix our economy and use this transformation as a platform for our advancement.
Protect, Transform, Restore: Biosphere Earth
Not only do we need to immediately protect all remaining old growth wildernesses and transform bad actors into regenerative asset creators, we need to restore ecosystem integrity across our planet. On land and in waters the Earth is already too damaged.
Biospheric functionality is collapsing due to our replacement of wilderness ecosystems with communities, farms, roads, pollution, etc.; every form of fragmentation and “conversion.” But wilderness functionality is priority one for human continuation, no matter how you slice it.
Given today’s extremely fragile biosphere and the numerous rapidly increasing pressures on it from things like: Desertification, Extinction of species, Lack of biodiversity, Predator annihilation, Carbon emissions, Consumer products and waste, Soil erosion, Deforestation, Ocean acidification … and more, the restoration and expansion of ecosystem integrity across our entire planet is now a global priority.
Humanity’s primary asset is bio-rich ecosystems.
I believe ecosystem integrity must outweigh Civilization’s material demands, along the lines of the predator/prey area law (1:4) at civilization/wilderness scale.
It’s pretty clear, Earth’s biosphere must always be greater than Earth’s humanity. Currently, it’s not. So restoring biospheric functionality by protecting and expanding wilderness ecosystems, from skyscrapers to pig farms, Yellowstone to the Congo to the Great Barrier Reef, is the primary challenge for human continuation today.
That might sound overwhelming, but it’s also immensely exciting as it opens up a next era for human advancement, and is our only real means of reducing the intensifying physical challenges of climate change.
It is in our best interest to rescue, strengthen and protect our best interest, our primary assets. Climate-wise the protection and restoration of robust, healthy wildernesses, old and new, on land and in waters maintains our biosphere, yes, but also provides: solar heat absorption, local to regional temperature stability, drought prevention, fire prevention, flood management, extreme weather reduction, extreme weather resilience, species restoration, greenhouse gas absorption, and more… Look for more detail and specific science on these claims in the next blogs.
These functions are essential to maintaining climate stability and biospheric productivity everywhere. Only a couple of them can be provided by technology, but they are rebuilt with restored ecosystem and wilderness integrity. We must regrow our biosphere.
I wrote yesterday about Overwhelm, which is essentially “too many things going wrong at once.” But we can Reverse Overwhelm. That’s essentially what the biosphere provides — an abundance of biological resources and ecological stability.
What we need is for everyone to understand that reversing the recent loss of old growth wildernesses (our life-support system), mostly from the last 50 years, is not only a requirement it’s our most complete climate stabilization solution.
Also the most socially-beneficial.
We just need to see it for what it is.
Thanks for reading. More tomorrow!
- All citations for the research referenced in this blog can be found in the most recent draft of my forthcoming paper, “Biosphere Earth = all GDPs + all lives.”