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Restoring Abundant Earth

Restoring Abundant Earth

(p.214) Nine Restoring Abundant Earth
Abundant Earth
Eileen Crist
University of Chicago Press

“Restoring Abundant Earth” elaborates on pulling back, involving large-scale protection of land and seas—the best way to save biodiversity. Drawing on Earth system science and ecological writings, this chapter opens with a narrative of biological abundance as an intrinsic property of life on Earth. For humanity to inhabit a biosphere that is a plenum of biological wealth, we must pull back from large swathes of nature so that life may thrive free from exploitation and untimely extinctions. Three frameworks are offered. The first is a current initiative, gaining visibility and support, called “Nature Needs Half.” It argues for conservation of at least 50 percent of representative ecosystems to staunch biodiversity losses, preempt mass extinction, and mitigate climate change. The second borrows from Roderick Nash’s “Island Civilization”: instead of humanity being the sea within which relics of wild nature are islands, wild nature must be the expanse within which human habitats are nestled. The third framework builds on “bioregionalism,” as an ecologically and socially desirable form of human inhabitation inspired by indigenous ways of life. Pulling back is neither retreat nor diminishment. It will enable a high quality of life sourced from the material and spiritual gifts of a living planet.

Keywords:   abundance, biodiversity, Nature Needs Half, Island Civilization, bioregionalism, pulling back

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