David Levy – What are we if we cannot provide for future generations? – May 16

Chris Packham, the broadcaster and wildlife presenter, has recently been discussing the nature of the human race and, in his Asperger’s World, he has concluded that man is selfish, self–centred and eventually self–destructive.

Many would say that love, inventive thought, imagination and caring are the qualities of the human condition but does the overall evidence support these aspirational beliefs? Chris doesn’t think so, and if you look at the patterns of behaviour I would have to agree with him.

The End of the Line written by Charles Clover is the Bible when it comes to understanding what fishermen around the world are like, and especially when it comes to preserving fish stocks at high levels which would provide fish food security for future generations. But the evidence in his work demonstrates that whenever stocks recover they are quickly over-fished again. Back to square one.

Why is it that we cannot find the understanding to manage our resources in a sustainable manner — an approach which appreciates the long term benefits of managing stocks that are referenced to historic levels? If you are unsure of what that means consult the works of Professor Callum Roberts, York University.

Could it be that we have run down stocks to such poor levels that we do not know where to start?

This could mean closing the fisheries for a decade to allow recovery. This would be unheard of within the fishing industry which staggers from one bad year to another. Globally there is not any control, agreements are worthless where they actually exist, and the lawless nature of global fisheries is left to self –monitoring and localised management.

The nature of many countries is that they are based on corruption. Even our own legal system fails to deter, even when occasionally they prosecute. So we have little capable of delivering a better outcome, and just a pragmatic pessimism that we are a lost cause.

Coming back to the central issue: human nature is to exploit, and you can see that the economics of our own country is to grow “in strength”, even within finite resources.

It’s a statistical nonsense that is perpetrated on us daily because globally there are few choices available.

In fact these choices are never discussed as alternatives in our selfish world, and this leaves us impotent and mouthing platitudes as sticky-plaster solutions.

It’s not good enough to save us from our own extinction.

Chris tells us that the latter is inevitable, and my opinion is that he is probably right.

David Levy

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