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Showing posts from September, 2015

Dear Owen Paterson, economic growth will not solve all the world's problems

On 20 September 2015, The Telegraph published an opinion piece suggesting that economic growth is the key to saving the planet.  Written by Owen Paterson, the former Environment Secretary, the article argues that the environmental movement was wrong: development is not a threat to our ecosystems but rather the cure.
Paterson argues that “ecomodernism” (decoupling humanity’s dependency on natural resources in exchange for technological advancement), will be vital to reduce our impact on the environment.  Technology has, of course, helped to limit fossil fuel usage through innovations in renewable energy technology such as solar panels and wind farms.  AgriTech has also assisted farmers in using less fertilisers through precision agriculture, which can reduce environmental pollution.  I am not denying that technology can, when used appropriately, significantly reduce our ecological footprint.  What I am concerned with is the blatant obscuring of facts to satisfy his argument.
Whilst we…

Big Cats in Your Back Yard?

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From my latest published piece in Reforesting Scotland, Issue 51, p42.


As the golden sun began to set beyond the mountain range, haunting shadows of ancient trees quivered in the autumnal wind. Suddenly, there was a commotion in the undergrowth: a lone young roe deer dashed across an opening in the forest. Closely behind him, a large felid with a short tail bounded after the ungulate in hot pursuit. A lynx. Gaining ground, the lynx tripped the deer, causing it to stumble into a pile of fallen leaves. With a swift, bone-crushing bite to the back of the neck, the lynx severed the spinal cord of the deer, killing him instantly.
Scenes like this have not been witnessed in Scotland for well over a millennium. Changes in climate and habitats, combined with sustained persecution by humans, led to the extinction of British lynx around 1,300 years ago. The disappearance of this big cat has left a noticeable hole in the ecosystem. As lynx are predatory animals, high up in the food chain, they hav…