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Fall of the Wild: Study Documents 'Catastrophic Decline' in World's Untouched Places


#1

Fall of the Wild: Study Documents 'Catastrophic Decline' in World's Untouched Places

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Wilderness, though remote by nature, is not immune to the ravages of humanity. In fact, according to a new study in the journal Current Biology, the world's wild places are undergoing "catastrophic decline" and could be facing elimination within decades if monumental policy shifts are not implemented.


#2

Baal wants to make the world his private hell.

America blew up the wild Pacific islands, Big Oil and gold miners pollute Amazonian forests, trophy hunters and encroaching humanity are decimating wildlife and the beat goes on... Unlimited growth is the enemy and still our leaders call for more.

The word "sustainable" has lately been sneaking into the public discourse though...


#3

Is it true that 90% of the land in Maine is privately owned?
Is it also true that no other state in the union has a higher percentage of privately owned land then Maine?


#4

Anyone who truly cares about wilderness and the wild should watch this video created by ClassWarFilms.

Learn about the founding of the 1964 Wilderness Act...and who has betrayed it!

1 hour

Gorgeous. Tragic. Important.


#5

I'm getting deeply pessimistic about what will happen to the Earth and, of course, its most ruinous occupant. That phrase "If we don't act now..." seems to pop up a lot these days and do we take it seriously and act upon the solid research and its implications and predictions? The answer is NO. The COP21 climate conference has been criticized just like the last one in Paris as largely ineffectual. What these people seem to agree on are small-scale improvements that cannot counteract the huge increases in CO2 and methane releases. Not long ago, the South Pole was recorded as having 400 ppm of CO2 in its air samples i.e. the atmospheric "mixing" is complete and we can almost assume that 2 degrees C warming will occur with more increases likely.
No, we are not going to "kill" the Earth as some apologists accuse us of claiming. However, we are on the way to making the Earth unviable for us to live on and also for millions of other species.
The recent number and severity of floods, hurricanes and the huge algae bloom off the coast of Florida are all signs of ecological unbalance and and ultimate breakdown. Will we really listen?
I doubt it. We still act as if we have some kind of right to do this. This is an obscenity of the highest order. No wonder that the current era has been labeled the "Anthropocene Age". This NOT a name we should be proud of.


#7

"We probably have one to two decades to turn this around," he warned. I question whether humanity really has this long to turn this capitalistic, ever-hungry Titanic-like economy away from the proverbial iceberg of environmental destruction especially given that the "captains" or so-called leaders insist on ordering this ship to continue full steam ahead.


#8

Not sure why you asked - but I found the following on that topic:

http://www.summitpost.org/public-and-private-land-percentages-by-us-states/186111#chapter_2

Looks like Rhode Island has the highest percentage and Kansas is second in terms of private land by this source which is a little old.

I also find:
http://www.nrcm.org/documents/publiclandownership.pdf
which talks about State and Federal land ownership (not local) and that source puts Kansas with the highest percentage and Iowa second.

Maine is 41st on one list and 37th on the other.


#9

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.”
-Cactus Ed Abbey


#10

We've definitely reached a critical mass in our impact on the global environment. However, this article is the definition of pessimism and gloom and doom. The other day I read an article on environmental catastrophism on this website, and how that doesn't solve the problems. The only other issue I have is the notion of "wilderness" being some pristine area free from any human impact or interaction. That is not really the case in the majority of wild places. Just as native peoples interacted with the environment in a dynamic and often beneficial ways in the USA, this notion of locking an area away from the humans and calling it wilderness isn't really correct. I'm not advocating developing wildlands, of course, but the idea of creating wilderness and then kicking people off the land has displaced many indigenous people worldwide. We can be stewards of our wildlands.


#11

When mapping the decline of wilderness, don’t forget to include lands taken over by giant industrial wind turbines that alter the entire look of a place and create chronic noise, along with bird and bat kills. They also turn night skies into something like an alien airport. Nothing is tainting wild and rural areas on a bigger scale than wind power these days. Not even fracking matches its visual prominence (much lower profile, with removable infrastructure).

And this industrialization of our last open spaces is being done in the name of "saving the planet" by people who never apparently cared about landscapes, and won't admit to wind power's fossil fuel dependence and mediocre CO2 reductions. The irony is too thick to stomach. I used to think population growth was the main thing to worry about, never expecting that "environmentalists" would sanction such sprawling construction projects in areas they don't belong in.


#12

You are a realist, not a pessimist, and most people can't handle what's in plain sight. The average person seems content to view wilderness (rather, photoshopped images of it) on a smartphone or PC screen, while powering those devices with "renewable" energy sprawl (especially obnoxious wind turbines) and pretending to care about the environment as it steadily becomes more urbanized.

The population growth machine marches along and its technology keeps eating deeper into the wild. There's little evidence that much will improve because most people just try to make themselves happy and tune out the spreading damage. The math of growing human & machine numbers debunks minor victories for nature as having much significance. A patch of land here and there gets preserved, but it's typically places that were corralled by development. Obama saved a big stretch of ocean near Hawaii recently but again, its size won't change the general trend of losses.


#14

If we always look at the wild planet as "a necessity of the human spirit" we validize the idea that it is here for humans.


#15

I stood once within an ancient ageless beauty
Gloriously lush and green centuries of old growth left untouched by man.
As a boy I'd go exploring, imagining being the first to ever stand there
A dying forest now of brown trees, I have become the last man to stand there.

  • J. Wereflea

#16

Groundwork.
Like when I ask about John P. O'Neill.


#17

3 decades after visiting Glacier National Park and being told the receding glacial snow fields would eventually vanish; well, it's apparent the park guides were insanely optimistic. My bucket list of pristine and hardly touched places; like the Bobs, the Absarooka, the Wind River Range and much more is more than half full. I'm not sure my grand nephews and nieces even know what a wooden bucket even looks like. So it goes....until it won't.


#18

Most wilderness in the US is found in Alaska followed by the other western states. I'm lucky enough to live within 30 miles of the High Uinta wilderness area in Utah, although it hasn't seen rain in months and is a tinder box. It's proximity stirs my sense of stewardship and conservation for future generations. After growing up in the East, I thank my lucky stars that Utah is one of those states with lots of wilderness, but it is under constant assault from motorized/mechanized recreation and mining interests.

These wilderness areas are part of the commons, for the time-being, which is the only way to protect them from privatization and exploitation. It also means every citizen shares responsibility for stewardship. If you've never explored these wild places do it if you can. Each is magnificent in its own way, and the natural grandeur is most humbling. The loss of our society's connection to nature has enabled our destruction through the exploitation of wild places.

And if you want to do something about it, check out SUWA (Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance): http://suwa.org/act-now/


#19

Irony becomes pathos when a wildlife preserve or national park etc is preserved on paper by an act of Congress but ends up being sacrificed to climate change!

All those last few treasures that people think will be saved from development and 'progress' are in fact unprotected against climate change. The Yellowstone or Glacier or the Great Barrier Reef etc. all are being endangered.


#21

And ongoing coalition work by the World Conservation Congress
Motion 26

Defend the Sacred: Making Indigenous Sacred Sites "No Go" Zones for Extractive Industries


#22

I'd be a hard one to convince the Feds and Western States are " preserving " any of the last, best places " forever ". More likely " saving " them for pillaging at a later date. Climate catastrophes should be likened to " the scorched earth policy" of Vietnam War infamy. We live in the same place/space now, as then, since our MIC is the biggest user of our nation's natural resources. Oil being #1, of couse.


#23

So should we just lay down and give up? Look at the First Nations people in ND, they are protectors. Like it or not we are all part of this planet, right down to the superbugs that could take us out. I consider myself a steward and yes I need wild places and wild animals to fuel my human spirit, and by fueling that it fires me me up to protect it in whatever ways I can.