We can climb out of the hole we’ve dug: Wood

Tug on Fraser River
Wetlands are at risk, but proven measures to preserve them show a way forward. Above: a tug works the Fraser River Delta, where Canada’s West Coast meets the Pacific. Photo by Deborah Jones © 2014

“It’s one of those authorless pieces of universal wisdom: When you find yourself at the bottom of a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging,” writes Chris Wood. We have dug ourselves to the bottom of a hole — but there is a way out, he argues. An excerpt of this week’s Natural Security column, Stop Digging!:


We are not only in a hole… we may be digging our way through an ecological safety margin, a range of resilience in natural systems that we are putting under increasing stress, with a rising risk of breaking through at any moment into a new natural regime that is not compatible with much of our existing economy.

So, let’s stop digging.

This is not nearly as crazy as it sounds. In fact, in a variety of ways and places we have certainly tried to stop digging.

We have set aside big chunks of flourishing ecosystem as parkland, as public forest land, as greenbelt or ecosystem refuge. (Not nearly enough to constitute a prudent reserve of natural services, but at least a start, a few pennies in the piggy.)

Then temptation arises. Someone points out that if we dig just a little deeper, there’ll be oil. Or gold. Or gas. Or copper. Resolve weakens and we pick up the shovel …  log in first (subscription needed*) to read Stop Digging!

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