Should we set aside half for nature?

  Should we set aside half for nature? Written by: Ian Brown Published by: The Globe and Mail, Oct. 14 2013   Introduction: No one can say Alberta’s oil sands have been an easy child. The bitumen pits fuel a third of Canada’s economy. They also produce some of the world’s most emission-intensive oil, and are responsible for more climate change and environmental stress than conventional oil. That standoff – is today’s revenue worth future ecological disaster? – has been bitter and lasting. The Keystone XL pipeline may be cancelled by environmental protest; ditto Northern Gateway. Conservationists demonize the oil industry, and vice versa. Meanwhile Canada begs the U.S. to buy our dilbit. And over the entire fracas hang the tatters of Canada’s reputation. We’ve devolved from the world’s most visible patch of wilderness to its dirtiest Harry. Into this thicket an Alberta conservationist has thrown a ground-clearing idea. Harvey Locke is a fourth-generation Albertan, a mainstay of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, and the Liberal who almost won Calgary Centre in the last federal election. Mr. Locke was a keynote speaker last week at the 10th World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca, Spain, where he declared that Canada should permanently freeze development on half the Mackenzie River Basin. He also proposed we pay for it with a 1-per-cent levy on every barrel coming out of the oil sands. >> Read the full article:       ...
Social HALF: The Nature Strategy for Sustainability

Social HALF: The Nature Strategy for Sustainability

          Social HALF: The Nature Strategy for Sustainability  Written by: Vance G. Martin and Julie Anton Randall Published in: International Journal of Wilderness, Volume 19, Number 2, August 2013 Introduction:  Social HALF is a concept that bridges the often disparate fields of nature conservation and human development. It is the human dimension complement Nature Needs Half of (NNH) – an aspirational and practical vision of sustainability (Martin 2011; Sylven 2011) based on the scientific information that keeping at least half of wild nature intact and interconnected is vital to ensuring continued life-supporting services to all species. The “half” in nature can be composed of interconnected large land- and seascapes or a connected mosaic of wild nature found in parks, forests, refuges, working lands, and waters managed with conservation as a primary value. NNH is also a cost- efficient and effective means of mitigating climate change by keeping atmosphere-altering chemicals such as carbon, methane, and others safely locked up (WILD 2009). Social HALF is the application of NNH to conceptualize a holistic, inclusive, and rational approach to sustainable development whereby the social and economic needs of human communities are addressed by protecting a specific quantity (at least half) and quality (high-functioning ecosystems and intact biodiversity) of nature. This WILD Foundation working paper, entitled the “Nature Strategy for Sustainability” (NSS), is formulated by a network of nature conservationists and human development practitioners that prioritizes the protection of nature for its fundamental role in alleviating human suffering, enhancing human security, and promoting economic prosperity. When NSS is fully established it will support international guidelines, replicable models, and practical...

Nature Needs Half: A Necessary and Hopeful New Agenda for Protected Areas

  Nature Needs Half: A Necessary and Hopeful New Agenda for Protected Areas Written by: Harvey Locke Published in: IUCN PARKS Journal, Volume 19.2, 2013 Abstract:  Conservation targets should be based on what is necessary to protect nature in all its expressions. When in 1988 the Brundtland report called for tripling the world’s protected area estate (which was then at 3 to 4 per cent of the land area) there was a strong belief that sustainable development would ensure the proper care for nature on the rest of the unprotected earth. This has proven wrong. We therefore must materially shift our protected areas target to protect at least half of the world, land and water, in an interconnected way to conform with what conservation biologists have learned about the needs of nature. Instead we have set goals that are politically determined, with arbitrary percentages that rest on an unarticulated hope that such non-scientific goals are a good first step towards some undefined better future outcome. This has been a destructive form of self-censorship. It is time for conservationists to reset the debate based on scientific findings and assert nature’s needs fearlessly. >> Read the full article:  ...

Heaven and Hope

The Wilderness Society 2010-2011, “Heaven and Hope” written by Jeff Rennicke The lands that belong to all Americans have long provided wilderness, recreation, and heavenly scenery. Now, scientists say, protecting them just might hold our best hope of saving the planet. Excerpt: “As confusing as these numbers seem, one number is increasingly clear, says Harvey Locke of The WILD Foundation: 50 percent. For decades, according to Locke, conservationists pushed for protection of 10 to 12 percent of the Earth as a “politically acceptable” goal. “When those other targets were set they were bold and visionary,” he says, “but the world has changed and those…targets no longer conform to what we’ve come to understand scientifically nor to the current very serious conditions that exist around the world for nature.” His ambitious goal is the target of a new program called “Nature Needs Half,” which seeks the designation of at least 50 percent of the world’s terrestrial surface to  a level defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. That would require the protection of some tribal, corporate, and private lands, yet its success will depend mostly on the protection of our cherished public lands. >Read the full article by Jeff...

Social Indicators Research 2011

By: Alan E. Watson, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station The Role of Wilderness Protection and Societal Engagement as Indicators of Well-Being: An Examination of Change at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Abstract: A societal decision to protect over 9 million acres of land and water for its wilderness character in the early 1960s reflected US wealth in natural resources, pride in the nation’s cultural history and our commitment to the well-being of future generations to both experience wild nature and enjoy benefits flowing from these natural ecosystems. There is no question that our relationship with wilderness has changed. Individually it is probably quite easy to examine differences in the role wilderness plays in the quality of our lives today compared to some previous time. But how the role of wilderness protection has changed for society is more difficult to describe. In only a few places do we have data across multiple decades that would allow us to even examine how users or their use may have changed over time. At the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota we are fortunate to have multiple studies that can give us some 40 years of insight into how some aspects of use have changed there. For example, an analysis of results of visitor studies at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1969, 1991 and 2007 reveal some big differences in who is out there today, most notably the presence of a much older, more experienced and better educated user population, almost exclusively white and predominantly male. It is time to decide...

Bolder Thinking for Conservation

Bolder Thinking for Conservation, Conservation Biology, Volume 26, No. 1, 2012. Noss et al Reed Noss and others  make a new statement in Conservation Biology concerning the need for large and interconnected protected areas at least half their original size. >>Read the...
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