This is one of those things that always amuses me. The incredible blindness of a certain type of Greenie environmentalist to what economists and others have been saying about the economics of being a Greenie environmentalist.
Blindness to what even such Greenie environmentalists hold as one of their core beliefs actually.
This year\’s wet summer and mild autumn has produced bumper crops of colourful wax caps, common ceps and luscious chanterelles.
But this new generation of foodies and foragers are beginning to trample the forests and fields that feed them – as well as many animals and insects, warn those who look after the UK\’s woodlands and nature reserves.
Concern is particularly high at some of the country\’s best-known beauty spots, including the New Forest, Epping Forest, and around the North Downs hills and the Chilterns.
It\’s one of the founding mantras of the whole \”oooh, look at pretty Gaia\” thing that there\’s a limit to nature. A limit to how quickly the biosphere can regenerate, how much we can take from nature without damaging the ability of nature to provide us with things in the future.
Yet it\’s these same people who profess to believe this who then go off yomping through the woods to pick all these natural foods. A poster boy for this could be George Monbiot and his kayaking for fish in Cardigan Bay.
For if two men and a dog go off and do this that\’s just fine. But when everyone who\’s seen the TV show with the wonderful wild mushroom omlette goes off to do it then the forests and fields are stripped of such.
It\’s the straight Tragedy of the Commons. The one thing that we really do know is absolutely and entirely true about environmental economics. Once demand for a natural good or service exceeds the ability unaided of that nature to supply it then we\’ve got to limit access somehow.
We just can\’t all go picking muchrooms, not unless there\’s a few farmers out there throwing manure into dark rooms and seeding it. You know, doing this invention of farming thing. And even then it\’s better to pick them up at the supermarket with the loo roll.
If it were the bastard capitalists doing the picking and the enviros shouting \”No!\” that I could understand. Even the other way around, the enviros doing it and the capitalist deploring it.
But it\’s this disconnect, almost to Murphy levels, of people adamantly insisting that nature has limits and then suggesting that 60 million people can live hunter gatherer lifestyles (even if only limited to mushrooms) on a small island that is so galling.
Shit, don\’t they realise that if we all went and collected out own firewood we\’d be like Easter Island by March?