Guest blog post from Rowan Adams
Naturenet visitors are almost like George W. Bush. We know that the human being and the fish can co-exist peacefully.
But we also know that the way we live now – the way we manage our land, especially the way we grow our food, and the way we generate our energy – is more like a civil war. We humans are destroying the homes and the food of our fellow-lifeforms. And that means we are destroying our own homes and our own food supply.
Sadly these basics of biology appear to be unknown to the people who control most of the money.
All across the country there are people with expert knowledge of how people and wildlife can get along together. But just when we most need that knowledge, government cuts mean that these people are losing their livelihoods.
I’m writing this on the Isle of Wight, a beautiful place where over half the land is designated for its landscape, wildlife, coast, geology or historic environment, but where the local council – trying to do the impossible and balance the budget after national government had slashed their funding – decided on 26 February that in future public parks and countryside would somehow be managed without any parks and countryside staff to do it.
The same sort of thing is happening to other countryside staff in other local authorities.
At the country’s (and probably the world’s) best-known botanic garden at Kew, where scientists do globally important work in plant conservation, funding cuts by national government mean 125 of Kew’s 750 staff might lose their jobs.
And now the Food Climate Research Network – a tiny team of three paid staff and a handful of volunteers who share information about how we can ensure can people get enough good food and do it sustainably – are having to send round the begging bowl.
Should we be surprised? When Paul Hackett and Paul Hunter surveyed the backgrounds of the MPs who were elected in 2010, they found 93% had a background in politics, business, finance, law, media, or PR and marketing, rather than any practical background.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering said after the 2010 election there were about 70 MPs with a degree in science, technology, engineering or maths. But since then they’ve also highlighted some worrying lack of support for science, such as cuts hitting research funding. They say ‘The government advocates use of evidence in policymaking‘, but there’s no good evidence or logic to justify decisions which mean just when we need them most we make sure that we can’t learn from the experts who could help us make sure that people and other living beings can indeed co-exist.
Perhaps we should have seen it coming. 2010 was a year for people cutting off their nose to spite their face. In April a handyman who was helping to cut off a tree branch fell to the ground and injured himself, because he’d chopped off the branch which was holding up the ladder. The next month Britain’s citizens went out to vote…