Dark Green Ideas

Here are some dark green ideas.

Human communities should be maintained in small population enclaves within linked wilderness ecosystems. No human community should be larger than 20,000 people and separated from other communities by wilderness areas. Communication systems can link the communities.[…]

We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion. […]

All consumption should be local. No food products need to be transported over hundreds of miles to market. All commercial fishing should be abolished. If local communities need to fish the fish should be caught individually by hand.[…]

Who should have children? Those who are responsible and completely dedicated to the responsibility which is actually a very small percentage of humans. Being a parent should be a career. Whereas some people are engineers, musicians, or lawyers, others with the desire and the skills can be fathers and mothers. Schools can be eliminated if the professional parent is also the educator of the child.

This approach to parenting is radical but it is preferable to a system where everyone is expected to have children in order to keep the population of consumers up to keep the wheels of production moving. An economic and political system dependent on continuous growth cannot survive the ecological law of finite resources.

There is, of course, a complexity of problems in adjusting to a new design that will simply allow us to survive the consequences of our past ecological folly.

Curing a body of cancer requires radical and invasive therapy, and therefore, curing the biosphere of the human virus will also require a radical and invasive approach.

This vision belongs to Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (HT Tim Worstall).

Other quotes from Paul Watson,

If you don’t know an answer, a fact, a statistic, then … make it up on the spot(in Earthforce: An Earth Warrior’s Guide to Strategy).

The fact is that we live in an extremely violent culture, and we all justify violence if it’s for what we believe in” (at the Animal Rights 2002 convention).

There’s nothing wrong with being a terrorist, as long as you win. Then you write the history (at the Animal Rights 2002 convention).

“We’re not a protest organization, we’re a policing organization” (on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society).

Source of quotes here.


Veterinarian loses arm to crocodile


A veterinarian in a Taiwan’s Shaoshan Zoo gave a 17 year old 200 kilogram Nile crocodile tranquilizers before attempting to give it medicine. Obviously it wasn’t adequately tranquilized; it bit his arm off.

Other zoo employees shot the crocodile twice and retrieved the arm. It was reattached during a 7-hour operation.

The vet is doing well, considering the circumstance. So is the croc. The shots did not penetrate its skin. They did shock it, and the shock made it open its mouth and release the arm.

The croc has been in the zoo for 10 years. Before that it was a pet in the home of a local resident.


Chang Po-yu after the operation.

Source: AP.

Primate Research

BBC writes that “UK experts back primate research”. Mind you, there is primate research and there is primate research. They are not talking about primatologists running around in the bush with binoculars and a clipboard.

About 3,300 primates are used in British laboratories each year…

Many researchers say primates’ genetic and physiological similarities to humans make them a prime candidate for testing the safety and efficacy of drugs…

non-human primate research remained vital for understanding the basic biology of the brain, neurological diseases, communicable diseases, and some aspects of fertility and ageing.

They are no doubt right. But I remember when I first thought that other primates’ senses and emotions are probably just like ours. It was during a memorable meal of cassava and roasted baby monkey in the Ituri forest in Congo. Eating cassava paste is like eating glue, and the monkey looked just like something the fire brigade had recovered from a burnt down home.

Laboratory research using primates serves a useful purpose, no doubt about it. But I still think that using non-human primates in this way is not all that different from using humans.

Fishing and whaling

The BBC has the story about the worldwide decline of fish stock. The story doesn’t say so, but the problem is mainly one of open access and lack of well-defined property rights.

One encouraging trend is the revival of aquaculture. In Europe it was common to breed fish in ponds from the Middle Ages till the 19th century. Faster and cheaper transport made sea fish available even far inland, and this lead to a decline of aquaculture. There is now a rapid growth in fish farming, especially in China. Fortunately, the species mostly farmed by the Chinese are herbivores such as carp. Unlike trout and salmon they don’t need a diet of fishmeal.

Aquaculture is not without problems. But if more fish are available at prices more people can afford, that is good.

Also on BBC,

The UK’s marine affairs minister, Ben Bradshaw, summons Iceland’s ambassador to London, and the US ambassador to Reykjavik protests against Iceland’s resumption of whaling.

“This united action shows the depth of feeling and concern not only in Britain but all over the world about this cruel and abhorrent activity,” said Mr Bradshaw.

“Today’s protest leaves Iceland in no doubt about the strength of feeling against its decision to side-step an international agreement to stop the killing of whales.

“It has done great damage to its reputation and image.”

This protest comes from a minister who has presided over the destruction of UK fish stocks and the UK fishing industry. In contrast to UK, Iceland has some of the best managed marine resources in the world.

Reputable and Disreputable Animal Rights Organizations

We have previously discussed market campaigns for animal rights (in this post), and the damage done by respectable animal rights organizations to conservation in Africa (here).

Meanwhile, the media is preoccupied with ‘animal rights terrorists’. Brendan O’Neill has written a sensible and balanced article about this phenomenon,

The truth about ‘animal rights terrorism’
Statistics reveal that it consists of rare and mostly minor incidents carried out by a handful of losers. So why is everyone so obsessed with it?

The reputable organizations have done a lot more damage by encouraging destruction of the economic value of wildlife to landowners in Africa than the nutcases have done anywhere. By destroying incentives to conservation they have both encouraged the destruction of wildlife, and cut the income to Africans that could have flown from what was previously an asset, but is now just a pest.

When Animal Rights Kill Animals

Imagine you are an African subsistence farmer, living in an area rich in wildlife. Hippos and elephants can devour you crop. If they do, you will have no food for yourself and your family for the next year. They are also dangerous, and you or your children might get killed by them.

Most wildlife in Africa doesn’t live in national parks. What are the incentives to conserve wildlife outside parks?

Hunting for sport, game cropping, bird shooting and the capture and sale of wildlife are obvious sources of income in areas that are too remote to support wildlife viewing.

In Kenya there has been a ban on consumptive utilization of wildlife since 1977. This effectively halted the flow of benefits to landowners. Since then Kenya has lost at least 50% of its wildlife.

This is clearly a major policy failure. Who on Earth would be in favor of this disastrous policy?

Animal Rights groups such as the anti-hunting Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), that’s who.

Animals Rights organizations want wildlife conservation on the cheap. Their emphasis is not on incentives for conservation, but on law enforcement. For example, from IFAW’s website,

In Uganda, for example, elephant numbers at Queen Elizabeth National Park had been reduced to only 150. IFAW stepped in to help in 1987 by shipping six patrol trucks to Uganda to save elephants and other wildlife from poachers. IFAW continued to work with the government of Uganda by supporting anti-poaching efforts in Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo National Parks.

Over the years, IFAW has provided operational funds to these parks to enhance security, improve communication systems, buy equipment and address human-wildlife conflicts. We have also contributed to community conservation and educational efforts.

The Humane Society threatened Kenya with a tourism boycott if Kenya changed its laws to allow consumptive use of wildlife, it would “Stop one million Americans a year coming to Kenya”. That could be an economic catastrophe for this poor country, so although a new law on wildlife was passed in Kenya’s Parliament, it was not signed by President Kibaki.

There is a simple way of conserving wildlife in Africa. Pay Africans enough so that they feel about wildlife the way Saudis feel about oil; a blessing and a gift from God.

(Read also this letter to the editor in the East African Standard, and How many wildebeest do you need?)