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.
“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.