For the Sake of Nature

For the Sake of Nature

Editor’s Note: Many environmentalists state their reason for wanting to stop the destruction on nature is because, according to them, there is no humanity without nature. As a biophilic organization, DGR believes that we should save nature because nature has an inherent worth (irrespective of the value for humans). The following article is written with the same sentiment.

By Simon P. James / The Conversation 

Environmentalists rightly urge us to consider the long-term effects of our actions. Plastic bags, they point out, can take hundreds of years to decompose, while radioactive waste can remain dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. It could take the Earth’s biosphere several million years to recover from human-caused mass extinctions.

As an environmental philosopher, I spend a lot of time thinking about facts such as these. This can be depressing. Still, looking very far into the future offers a glimmer of hope. After all, our waste will eventually decompose. The ecosystems we have degraded will eventually recover.

To be sure, like all things, planet Earth will eventually meet its end, engulfed, perhaps, by the expanding sun. However, as comedian George Carlin once said, it will nonetheless “be here for a long, long, long time after we’re gone and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ‘cause that’s what it does”.

Only a few people, perhaps including Donald Trump, claim that this provides a reason to refrain from preserving biodiversity, reducing pollution or taking any other sort of environmental action. However, some think it tells us why such action is needed.

For them, the fact that the planet will eventually recover tells us that when environmental action is needed, it’s needed not for the planet’s sake, but for ours – for the sake of us humans.

Here’s how Peter Kareiva, former chief scientist and vice president of NGO The Nature Conservancy, expresses the point:

Almost no matter what we do, life will persist on Mother Earth – she is one tough lady. Even if there is a massive extinction, slowly the number of species will recover. So it is not Mother Earth that we should worry about. It is the quality of our own lives.

Satya Tripathi, secretary-general of the Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet, agrees:

We need to look at ourselves, be very selfish, stop making high-sounding claims that we are helping Mother Nature and the planet, [and] start telling that we are helping ourselves […] The planet does not need saving. Mother Nature was here billions of years ago, and she will be here after us.

The writer Frederick Lim takes a similar line:

The planet does not need saving. Mitigating the impacts of climate change isn’t for Earth’s sake. Rather, it is for our own survival […] Even if we choose to neglect the climate emergency, and cause the Earth’s environment to be inhabitable, planet Earth would still survive.

The argument implied by these claims runs as follows. Take some immense and near-invulnerable entity such as planet Earth or Mother Nature. That entity will eventually recover from whatever damage we humans do to it.

So we don’t need to engage in environmental action for the sake of anything as grand as planet Earth or Mother Nature. We need to do it for ourselves – for the sake of us humans.

This is an argument for “anthropocentrism”: the view that the non-human world only has value because it serves human interests. There are several things wrong with it. Here, though, let’s consider just one.

The anthropocentrists seem to assume that people can only ever take environmental action either for the sake of some gigantic entity such as planet Earth, or for the sake of human beings. So if we reject the first option, we must accept the second.

That, however, is a false dilemma. Other options are available.

For the sake of the animals

Take Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Sumatra, for example. The anthropocentrists quoted above would, I expect, acknowledge that that huge area of highly biodiverse tropical forest should continue to be protected.

But they would add that it needn’t be protected for the sake of the planet. Even if the forest is levelled and transformed into coffee plantations, the planet will be just fine. Ditto Mother Nature.

They would add that Bukit Barisan Selatan should be protected for the sake of human beings – because it supplies certain people with vital material goods, for instance, or because it has cultural value for them.

But that is not the whole story. There is a third option – a third reason why the area should be protected.

Consider the non-human animals for whom the place is home. Consider the dishevelled, bear-like binturong, or the slow loris, a fluffy, owl-eyed mammal with a toxic bite. Or take the Sumatran rhino, the Sumatran tiger or the Sumatran elephant. These animals are not just parts of planet Earth, Mother Nature or whatever. They are conscious individuals.

And, as the philosopher Martha Nussbaum and others have argued, they both deserve to flourish and need places in which they can flourish. So, although the forest really should be protected for our sakes, it should be protected for theirs too.

The anthropocentrists are, therefore, partly right. The planet doesn’t need saving. But acknowledging this does not mean we must be “very selfish” and devote all our efforts to saving ourselves. There are other reasons to protect the strange, wonderful and partly non-human world we inhabit.

Photo by David MarcuUnsplash
The Conversation

Species Lost at a Faster Rate Than Rediscovery

Species Lost at a Faster Rate Than Rediscovery

Editor’s note: We all know the word mammal, but not many people may have heard about tetrapod species. This group of wild animals includes amphibians, birds and reptiles in addition to mammals. Most people love jaguars and monkeys, but an ecosystem is thriving with all kinds of particular species, also with the ones that are green and greasy or look like little dinosaurs.

Because of their importance researchers want to find out how many tetrapod species have gone extinct in comparison to how many can be rediscovered; just because nobody saw them in between a few years, doesn’t mean that they’re gone. With this “lost and found” method scientists can prove how bad the extinction rate really is, and, in a case of rediscovery, get funding for protection measures.

In our so called civilization there’s no real protection for other than humans, wildlife has to make way when human needs appear. In a natural world where nonhumans needs were also considered we wouldn’t need to count for lost and found species. We would give them their own space and let them be. Yet it seems nowadays the only way to get funding for nature conservancy projects is by research, a method that only speaks to the mind.

But the mind is limited, human brains cannot grasp wholeness, beauty and true meaning of a healthy environment with only thoughts. Often it hinders us to connect to the special beings surrounding us. So in addition to science we as a society need a culture of connection and heartfelt unity to not lose more.

Species Lost at a Faster Rate Than Rediscovery

By Thomas Evans/The Conversation

Lost species are those that have not been observed in the wild for over ten years, despite searches to find them. Lost tetrapod species (four-limbed vertebrate animals including amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles) are a global phenomenon – there are more than 800 of them, and they are broadly distributed worldwide.

Our research, published today in the journal Global Change Biology, attempts to pin down why certain tetrapod species are rediscovered but others not. It also reveals that the number of lost tetrapod species is increasing decade-on-decade. This means that despite many searches, we are losing tetrapod species at a faster rate than we are rediscovering them. In particular, rates of rediscovery for lost amphibian, bird and mammal species have slowed in recent years, while rates of loss for reptile species have increased.

This is not good news. Species are often lost because their populations have shrunk to a very small size due to human threats like hunting and pollution. Consequently, many lost species are in danger of becoming extinct (in fact, some probably are extinct). However, it is difficult to protect lost species from extinction because we don’t know where they are.

Rediscoveries lead to conservation action

In 2018, researchers in Colombia successfully searched for the Antioquia brush-finch (Atlapetes blancae), a bird species unrecorded since 1971. This rediscovery led to the establishment of a reserve to protect the remaining population of the brush-finch, which is tiny and threatened by habitat loss caused by agricultural expansion and climate change.

The Antioquia brush-finch, which was rediscovered in Colombia in 2018, and protected through the establishment of a new reserve. Victor Manuel Arboleda/iNaturalist

The Victorian grassland earless dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla) was rediscovered in Australia last year. It hadn’t been recorded for 54 years, and was presumed to be extinct, due to the loss of its grassland habitat and predation by invasive alien species including feral cats. Its rediscovery resulted in government funding to trial new survey techniques to find further populations of the species, a breeding program, and the preparation of a species recovery plan.

The Victorian grassland earless dragon was rediscovered in Australia last year. CSIRO/Wikimedia

Thus, rediscoveries are important: they provide evidence of the continued existence of highly threatened species, prompting funding for conservation action. The results of our study may help to prioritise searches for lost species. In the image below, we mapped their global distribution, identifying regions with many lost and few rediscovered species.

The global distribution of lost and rediscovered tetrapod species. Grey shading and text = the number of species within a region (a country or an island) that are currently lost (globally). Orange text: the number of rediscovered species with a range incorporating this region. White regions without orange numbers: no data on lost or rediscovered species. White regions with orange numbers: regions where lost species have been rediscovered and no (known) lost species remain. Thomas Evans, Global Change Biology, 2024

What factors influence rediscovery?

Sadly, many quests to find lost species are unsuccessful. In 1993, searches in Ghana and the Ivory Coast over seven years failed to rediscover a lost primate, Miss Waldron’s red colobus (Piliocolobus waldronae). The research team concluded that this noisy and conspicuous monkey, unrecorded since 1978, may well be extinct. Its demise has been caused by hunting and the destruction of its forest habitat. Further searches in 2005, 2006 and 2019 were also unsuccessful, although calls that were possibly by this species were heard in 2008.

In 2010, searches for the Mesopotamia beaked toad (Rhinella rostrata), unrecorded in Colombia since 1914, were unsuccessful (but did lead to the discovery of three new amphibian species). Last year’s search for the Sinú parakeet (Pyrrhura subandina), unrecorded in Colombia since 1949, was also unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the project team did identify the presence of ten other parrot species in the survey area and large tracts of suitable habitat, giving hope for the continued existence of the Sinú parakeet.

Searches for the Sinú parakeet in the Upper Sinú Valley recorded the presence of ten other parrot species including the great green macaw (Ara ambiguus) (pictured) which is critically endangered. Grigory Heaton/iNaturalist

So why is it that some species are rediscovered while others remain lost? Are there specific factors that influence rediscovery? We aimed to answer these questions in our study, in order to improve our ability to distinguish between the types of lost species we can rediscover, from those that we cannot, because they are extinct.

Our project team comprised members of the organisation Re:wild, which has been leading efforts to search for lost species since 2017, along with species experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC).

We compiled a database of 856 lost and 424 rediscovered tetrapod species (amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles). We then proposed three broad hypotheses about factors that might influence rediscovery: characteristics of (i) tetrapod species, and (ii) the environment influence rediscovery, and (iii) human activities influence rediscovery.

For example, body mass (a species characteristic) may positively influence rediscovery, as larger lost species should be easier to find. Lost species occupying dense forests (a characteristic of the environment) may not be rediscovered as searching for them is difficult. Lost species affected by threats associated with human activities (e.g., invasive alien species, which are being spread to new locations by global trade) may not be rediscovered, as they may be extinct.

Based on these hypotheses, we collected data on a series of variables associated with each lost and rediscovered species (for example, their body mass), which we then analysed for their influence on rediscovery.

Hard to find + neglected = rediscovered

On the upside, our results suggest that while many lost species are difficult to find, with some effort and the use of new techniques, they are likely to be rediscovered. These species include those that are very small (including many lost reptile species), those that live underground, those that are nocturnal, and those living in areas that are difficult to survey.

In fact, since the completion of our study, De Winton’s Golden Mole (Cryptochloris wintoni) has been rediscovered in South Africa. This species hadn’t been recorded in the wild since 1937. It lives underground much of the time, so searches were conducted using techniques including environmental DNA and thermal imaging.

Our results also suggest some species are neglected by conservation scientists, particularly those that are not considered to be charismatic, such as reptiles, small species and rodents. Searches for these species may also be rewarded with success. Voeltzkow’s chameleon (Furcifer voeltzkowi), a small reptile species, was rediscovered in Madagascar in 2018.

The Bramble Cay melomys – once considered to be a lost species, but now declared extinct. State of Queensland/Wikimedia

Lost or extinct?

Unfortunately, our results also suggest that some lost species are unlikely to be found no matter how hard we look, because they are extinct. For example, remaining lost mammal species are, on average, three times larger than rediscovered mammal species. Some of these large, charismatic, conspicuous species should have been rediscovered by now.

Furthermore, one third of remaining lost mammal species are endemic to islands, where tetrapod species are particularly vulnerable to extinction. The Bramble Cay melomys (Melomys rubicola), which was once considered to be a lost species, has recently been declared extinct by the Australian Government. It occupied a small island that has been extensively surveyed – if it still existed it should have been rediscovered by now.

Lost bird species have, on average, been missing for longer than those that have been rediscovered (28% have been missing for more than 100 years), and many have been searched for on several occasions – perhaps some of these species should also have been rediscovered by now.

Nevertheless, unexpected rediscoveries of long-lost species like the Cebu flowerpecker (Dicaeum quadricolor) do occur, so we shouldn’t lose hope, and we should definitely keep searching. However, some searches are being carried out for long-lost species that are considered to be extinct, such as the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus). Perhaps the limited resources available for biodiversity conservation would be better used to search for lost species likely to still exist.

Thomas Evans is a Research scientist at Freie Universität Berlin and Université Paris-Saclay

Photo by Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson on Unsplash

8 Steps Used By Offshore Wind to Create Agreements

8 Steps Used By Offshore Wind to Create Agreements

Editor’s note: While this article could have been written about any extractive industry, it has focused on offshore wind turbine farms. These destructive projects should require at least as much scrutiny as an offshore oil rig, but they are not. Because in the name of climate mitigation, they are rushed through without consideration for the damage they will cause, or even their effectiveness in serving this purpose and need for existence. Which is usually just based only on government mandates. And this is all done in the name of Big Environmentalism. DGR does not believe the Bright Green Lies of mainstream environmental NGOs.

By Carl van Warmerdam

People who believe that offshore wind turbines can help solve climate change are misinformed. Because the facts are that they will not. Even the companies building them make no such claim. And the truth, based on facts, will always trump belief. I am not a climate denier, but you don’t have to be a climate denier to know that these things are bad and are doomed to failure. And you also don’t have to be linked to the fossil fuel industry, the same people that knew they were causing global warming and therefore threatening the very existence of the planet. Yet, in pursuit of profit, fossil fuel executives not only refused to publicly acknowledge what they had learned but, year after year, lied about the existential threat that climate change posed for our planet. “Renewable” energy projects should require just as must scrutiny from regulators and environmentalists as fossil fuel projects.

Truth be told, most rebuildable “renewable” energy extractive companies are also liars, and have ties to fossil fuel companies. In reality what is really going on is a boondoggle, that you won’t hear about in mainstream corporate media because they only give disinformation. After years of rebuildable energy – solar and wind infrastructure – the world used more fossil fuels in 2023 than it did in 2022, as it did the year before that and the year before that. We are in fact using more fossil fuel than ever before. From 61 thousand terawatts-hours of primary energy consumption in 1973, which was the year of the OPEC oil embargo, when governments began to massively support research and development of large wind turbines and solar panels, to 137 thousand today. This is well over twice as much. In that same period, emissions grew from 17 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions to the 37 billion metric tons today. A 20 billion metric ton increase in the last 50 years. And after all of that, 80 percent of our energy use still comes from fossil fuels. The percent of US energy use from electricity has remained the same, about 20 percent. Of that, wind turbines account for 7 percent and solar energy provides 2 percent of total US electricity used. So the dream of a 100 percent electric power supply is just that, a dream.

 Why? Because these energy intense extractive technologies require massive amounts of fossil fuels to produce and those emissions are adding onto what is already being used, not reducing it (Jevons paradox). Thus spewing more planet-heating carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a time when greenhouse gas emissions world wide must nosedive to stop extreme weather from growing more unpredictable and violent. The only reason CO2 emission may drop in countries installing rebuildable extractive energy and electric vehicles is because they have outsourced the mining and manufacture of these machines to other countries, thus increasing the CO2 emissions in those countries. LNG has replaced dirty coal to run power plants.  Add on to all of this, easy access resources are gone. So the Energy Return On Investment (EROI) has gone down sharply in that time. Instead of Jeb shooting for some food, we have to use fracking and offshore drilling, mountaintop removal and deep sea mining. In the foreseeable future, the energy needed to produce our energy needs could approach unsustainable levels, a phenomenon called “energy cannibalism.”

If this continues, the so called “green” energy transition will in fact be an energy correction, complements of Mother Nature, bigger and more storms, flooding, fire, drought and biodiversity collapse. These are no longer natural disasters, instead these more powerful weather events are man made.

Nature is not more complicated than you think, it is more complicated than you CAN think” ~Frank Edwin Egler

Rebuildable extractive energy capturing machines are not clean except through greenwashing and are only making our predicament worse. The trillions in government subsidies given to this sector only makes the rich richer. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) should more appropriately be called the 4th Industrial Revolution Act. This is government redistribution of wealth from the working class to offshore transnational state sponsored corporations and the wealthy financial class, which are also principally owned by fossil fuel companies. Ultimately any money that is offered by them as payouts for grants, agreements, promotion or mitigation will come from the utility ratepayer. This is a scam that is not financially feasible without trillions in government subsidies. This is what their balance sheet looks like. What is done to the natural environment is even worse.  

Wildlife and wind turbines are an uncomfortable mix. Rotating turbine blades can make short work of anyone or anything unlucky enough to collide with them, but direct mortality is only part of the story. Having reviewed the available evidence from around the world, biologists in Finland have found that 63 percent of bird species, 72 percent of bats and 67 percent of terrestrial mammals are displaced from areas where turbines are installed. The same holds true for offshore wind farms, to include fish and marine mammals. Wind turbines are an invasive species to functioning ecosystems that took millions of years to create. The building process is a war zone. The noise and devastation are a disaster to fragile ecosystem habitats. Consider how you would feel if these massive monsters were put up next to your house in your town. The oceans, from which we came, are the lungs of the planet. Life can not exist if the delicate balance is disrupted. These projects are doomed to failure in more ways than one.

True resilience and sustainability comes by thinking globally and acting locally. The land base that people live on should be able to, on its own, continually feed, clothe and house the people who live on it. It makes no sense to destroy the sustainable food provided by the ocean in order to keep the lights on. It is preferable to eat in the dark than to starve in the light. Also know that fish farms are in the same league as wind farms. It is an enclosure of the commons for corporate control of our food supply, what they call “The Blue Economy”.    

How do we know that offshore wind will be a “pain” now and into the future for fishing, tourism, cultural heritage, beauty, integrity, stability, sustainability, ecological balance and quality of life? Millions of dollars are offered up to mitigate (bribe) it. Money would better be spent to mitigate the already abandon mines, fossil fuel wells and habitat degradation. This is where our good paying jobs should be working, to protect the planet. Life on the planet can be saved, a modern industrial lifestyle cannot.

How to Convince a Community to Destroy Their Future 


Step 1. Create an effective advertising campaign for Your Destructive Offshore Wind Project

Use a name that has a certain historical, cultural, or environmental value for the communities. Change the name from Pilgrim and Mayflower(tone deaf) to South Coast Wind or Vineyard Wind(more like Graveyard). Call it “clean”, “green”, “renewable” energy that is the solution to climate change and save our lifestyle. With the right branding, people will drink any poison, pinwheels for everyone.

Step 2. Get the Local Government on Your Side

Pay off the local politicians to agree and hand out licenses. Tell them there is nothing they can do to stop it, so they should just get the best Good Neighbor Host Agreement possible or get nothing.

Step 3. Lobby as Much as Possible to Bend the Law in Favor Offshore Wind

Create legal loopholes and tax credits for corporations, behind closed doors. Speed up the “permit” your destruction process. Buy-off federal and state politicians and corporate capture regulatory agencies. Nobody wants these in their backyard, let’s just put them out to sea. 

Step 4. Presents! Buy Off Public Opinion

Build a new school, library(Carnegie) or sewer system. Or just offer money as compensation to do with as you wish. The major ENGOs have entered into agreement with offshore wind: Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, and Conservation Law Foundation and taken money; Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Environmental League of Mass., Sierra Club, etc. along with aquariums, universities and the media. 

Step 5. Offer a Compromise

Let us destroy this land/sea here and we will protect some other land/sea. Or agree with us and we will let you have a say in how the destruction will occur. This project has to be done to stop climate change, we have to destroy the planet to save it. There must be sacrifice zones. Sorry that your home is being destroyed but don’t be a NIMBY(Not In My Backyard). Actually when respondents of national surveys begin to think about ideas of what rebuildable energy entails, such as offshore wind, their support often diminishes. There will be painful trade-offs, trying to preserve comfortable lives. Most of that pain will come from other species. But if we acknowledge that our modern industrial lifestyle is causing the end of life on the planet, we must say NOPE(Not On Planet Earth).

Step 6. Threats Are Effective Deterrents

If you file a law suit against this project, we will file a lawsuit against you, a SLAPP(Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Focus on the leaders of the struggle. Scaring people works. This smear tactic was conducted by the prestigious Ivy League College Brown against the opponents to offshore wind. Attack the messenger. In the global south, this is done literally. Real nice place you got here, it would be a sham if something bad happened to it.

Step 7. Create Chaos and Conflict; Divide the Community in Two Camps

Tout the temporary “good paying union” jobs you will create over the permanent sustainable jobs, fishing and tourism, destroyed forever. Destroying a food source never makes good sense. What is truly needed, at this time of ecological collapse, is food sovereignty. Where jobs are hard to come by this is called poverty pimping. Then don’t forget to accuse those opposed to offshore wind of promoting “disinformation“. Push it as a choice in political values, Republicans against Democrats. There is a backlash against “renewable” energy. It’s turned Democrats into Republicans.

Step 8. Having Wrought Havoc, Now Frame It as a Successful Story of Growth and Prosperity

Welcome to the great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day. Technology has fixed the problem that it has created! Too bad it is a dystopian science fiction. No one willingly wants to destroy their environment. It is done because of the Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules! Not to mention that these companies have gotten out of paying most of the taxes required of multinationals. And avoid putting emphasis on the fact that the jobs are short term, while the environmental damage is forever.

The Community Environment Legal Defense Fund can help to fight these corporate criminals from destroying your town.

If you would like to help stop The Blue Economy of offshore wind, see Green Oceans


Contact: Ben Martin
Steinreich Communications

(212) 4911600


LITTLE COMPTON, R.I. – Rhode Island-based Green Oceans, a non-partisan, grassroots not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting the ocean and the ecosystems it sustains, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging four federal agencies shortcut statutory and regulatory procedures and violated environmental protection laws by approving the South Fork and Revolution Wind projects. An additional 35 co-plaintiffs joined the litigation.

The suit alleges that the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their respective administrative leaders, issued permits for the two projects on the critical marine habitat known as Coxes Ledge, despite the acknowledgment of serious irreversible harm and without adequate environmental impact studies. The lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the approvals for both projects until the government complies with all relevant statutes and regulations.

“In a rush to meet state mandates, we cannot short-circuit our country’s most important environmental and natural resource policies. This suit will ensure the federal government follows its own rules and regulations,” said Green Ocean’s Co-founder and President Dr. Elizabeth Quattrocki Knight. 

Filed under the Administrative Procedure Act, the suit intends to prove that the federal agencies violated eight statutes, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Clean Water Act, and their associated regulatory programs.

The suit highlights the alarming scale of proposed offshore wind plans – up to 1,000 turbines, each towering over 870 feet high. The closest turbines will reside just 12.9 nautical miles from the Rhode Island coast. Collectively, the nine projects planned for the waters off the coast of Rhode Island represent the largest offshore development anywhere in the world. The Green Oceans suit alleges that BOEM did not adequately consider the cumulative impact of the entire lease area, a legal requirement. No geographic boundaries exist between the nine different projects planned for the 1,400 square miles of coastal waters between Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

“Marine mammals will not appreciate whether any given turbine belongs to one project or another. Legally, BOEM must evaluate the collective impact, not just each project in isolation,” Dr. Quattrocki Knight emphasized. The projects threaten to permanently alter the environmentally sensitive Coxes Ledge, one of the last remaining spawning grounds for Southern New England cod and an important habitat for the North Atlantic right whale and four other endangered whale species.

Barbara Chapman, a Green Oceans trustee, added, “Even people who support the concept of wind power understand the threat to sea life. On the official NOAA site, they have granted the developer of Revolution Wind, just one project of many, permission to harm and harass over 13,000 marine animals, including 568 whales, during the course of a single year. We do not consider 13,000 a small number.”

“BOEM admits the projects will have adverse impacts on the health of our fisheries, navigation safety, historic resources, the North Atlantic right whale, and environmental justice populations, while having no effect on climate change. Why accept this irreversible environmental damage for no overall gain?” questions Green Ocean’s Co-founder and Vice President, Bill Thompson.

Co-plaintiffs to the suit include the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, Save Right Whales Coalition, New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association, Bat World Sanctuary, three former Rhode Island Fisherman’s Advisory Board members, along with local and regional recreational fishermen, sailors, boaters, pilots, conservationists, residents, and leading members of the business community.

Green Oceans is a nonprofit, non-partisan group of community members dedicated to combating climate change without jeopardizing biodiversity or the health of the ocean. For more information or to get involved, visit:

Featured photo by Pete Godfrey on Unsplash

Green Deceit: Forest Management, EVs, and Manufactured Consent

Green Deceit: Forest Management, EVs, and Manufactured Consent

Editor’s Note: Taking the context of Maryland’s forests, the following piece analyses how the mainstream environmental movement and pro-industry management actors have used deliberately misinterpreting to outright creation of information to justify commercial activities at the expense of forests. Industrial deforestation is harmful for the forests and the planet. The fact that this obvious piece of information should even be stated to educated adults affirms the successful (and deceitful) framing of biomass as an environmentally friendly way out of climate crisis. The same goes for deep sea mining.

By Austin

Most would agree that we live in an age of multiple compounding catastrophes, planetary in scale. There is controversy, however, regarding their interrelationships as well as their causes. That controversy is largely manufactured. In the following pages I will describe the state of “forestry” in the state of Maryland, USA, and connect that to regional, national, and international stirrings of which we should all be aware. I will continue to examine connections between international conservation organizations, the co-optation of the environmental movement, the youth climate movement, and the financialization of nature. Full disclosure. I am writing this to human beings on behalf of all the non-human beings and those yet unborn who are recognized as objects to be converted to capital or otherwise used by the dominant culture. I am not a capitalist. I am a human being. I occupy unceded land of unrecognized peoples which is characterized by poisoned air, water and soil, devastated forest ecosystems, decapitated mountains, and collapsing biodiversity. I am of this earth. It is to the land, water and all of life that I direct my affection and gratitude as well as my loyalty.

Last winter, amid deep concerns about the present mass extinction and an unshakeable feeling of helplessness, I began to search for answers and ecological allies. I compiled a running list of local, regional, national, and international organizations that seemed to have at least some interest in the environment. The list quickly swelled to hundreds of entries. I attempted to assess the organizations based upon their mission, values, goals, publications and other such things. I hoped that the best of the best of these groups could be brought together around ecological restoration and the long-term benefits of clean air, water, healthy soil supporting vigorous growth of food and medicine, and rebounding biodiversity throughout our Appalachian homeland. Progress was and continues to be slow. Along the way, I encountered an open stakeholder consultation (survey) regarding a risk assessment of Maryland’s forests. As an ethnobotanist with special interests in forest ecology and stewardship, Indigenous societies and their traditional ecological knowledge, symbiotic relationships, and intergenerational sustainability, I realize that my unique perspectives could be helpful to the team conducting the assessment. I proceeded to submit thought provoking responses to each question. Because the consultation period was exceedingly brief and outreach to stakeholders was weak at best, and because the wording of the questions felt out of alignment with the purported purpose of the survey, I sensed that something was awry. So I saved my answers and resolved to stay abreast of developments.

Summer came around, I became busy, and the risk assessment survey faded from my mind until a friend recently emailed me a draft of the document along with notice of a second stakeholder consultation and the question: should we respond? This friend happens to own land registered in the Maryland Tree Farm Program. The selective outreach to forest landowners with large acreage was an indication as to who is and who is not considered a “stakeholder” by the committee.

After reviewing the Consultation Draft: A Sustainability Risk Assessment of Maryland’s Forests I felt sick. Low to Negligible was the risk assignment for every single criteria. I re-read the document – section by section – noting the ambiguity, legalese and industry jargon, lack of definitions, contradictory statements, false claims, poorly referenced and questionable sources, and more. Have you heard of greenwashing? Every tactic was represented in the 82 page document. Naturally, then, I tracked down and reviewed many of the referenced materials and I then investigated the contributors and funders of the report.

To understand the Sustainability Risk Assessment of Maryland’s Forests, one must also review the <a href=” Forestry Economic Adjustment Strategy, part one and two of Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Action Plan, and Seneca Creek Associates, LLC’s Assessment of Lawful Sourcing and Sustainability: US Hardwood Exports, and of course American Forests Foundation’s Final Report to the Dutch Biomass Certification Foundation (DBC) for Implementation of the AFF’s 2018 DBC Stimulation Program in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, and Louisiana. Additionally, it is helpful to note that the project development lead and essential supporters each operate independent consultancies that: offer “technical and strategic support in navigating complex forest sustainability and climate issues,” “provide(s) services in natural resource economics and international trade,” and “produced a comprehensive data research study for the Dutch Biomass Certification Foundation on the North American forest sector,” according to their websites.

Noting, furthemore, that on the Advisory Committee sits a member of the Maryland Forests Association (MFA). On their website they state: “We are proud to represent forest product businesses, forest landowners, loggers and anyone with an interest in Maryland’s forests…” They also state: “Currently, Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard uses a limiting definition of qualifying biomass that makes it difficult for wood to compete against other forms of renewable energy,” oh yes, and this extraordinarily deceptive bit from a recent publication, There’s More to our Forests than Trees:

When the tree dies, it decays and releases carbon dioxide and methane back into the atmosphere. However, we can postpone this process and extend the duration of carbon storage. If we harvest the tree and build a house or even make a chair with the wood, the carbon remains stored in these products for far longer than the life of the tree itself! This has tremendous implications for addressing the growing levels of carbon dioxide, which lead to increased warming of the earth’s atmosphere. It means harvesting trees for long-term uses helps mitigate climate change. We can even take advantage of the fact that trees sequester carbon at different rates throughout their lifespan to maximize the carbon storage potential. Trees are more active in sequestering carbon when they are younger. As forests age, growth slows down and so does their ability to store carbon. At some point, a stand of trees reaches an equilibrium where the growth and carbon-storing ability equals the trees that die and release carbon each year. Thus, a younger, more vigorous stand of trees stores carbon at a much higher rate than an older one.

Just in case you were convinced by that last bit, my studies in botany and forest ecology support the following finding:

“In 2014, a study published in Nature by an international team of researchers led by Nathan Stephenson, a forest ecologist with the United States Geographical Survey, found that a typical tree’s growth continues to accelerate (emphasis mine) throughout its lifetime, which in the coastal temperate rainforest can be 800 years or more.

Stephenson and his team compiled growth measurements of 673,046 trees belonging to 403 tree species from tropical, subtropical and temperate regions across six continents. They found that the growth rate for most species “increased continuously” as they aged.

“This finding contradicts the usual assumption that tree growth eventually declines as trees get older and bigger,” Stephenson says. “It also means that big, old trees are better at absorbing carbon from the atmosphere than has been commonly assumed.” (Tall and old or dense and young: Which kind of forest is better for the climate?).

Al Goertzl, president of Seneca Creek (a shadowy corporation with a benign name that has no website and pumps out reports justifying the exploitation of forests) who is featured in MFA’s Faces of Forestry, wouldn’t know the difference, he identifies as a forest economist. In another publication marketing North American Forests he is credited with the statements: “There exists a low risk that U.S. hardwoods are produced from controversial sources as defined in the Chain of Custody standard of the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).” and “The U.S. hardwood-producing region can be considered low risk for illegal and non-sustainable hardwood sourcing as a result of public and private regulatory and non-regulatory programs.” The report then closes with this shocker: “SUSTAINABILITY MEANS USING NORTH AMERICAN HARDWOODS.”

Why are forest-pimps conducting the risk assessment upon which future decisions critical to the long-term survival of our native ecosystem will be based? What is really going on here?

A noteworthy find from Forest2Market helps to clarify things:

“Europe’s largest single source of renewable energy is sustainable biomass, which is a cornerstone of the EU’s low-carbon energy transition […] For the last decade, forest resources in the US South have helped to meet these goals—as they will in the future. This heavily forested region exported over <7 million metric tons of sustainable wood pellets in 2021­ – primarily to the EU and UK – and is on pace to exceed that number in 2022 (emphasis mine) due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has pinched trade flows of industrial wood pellets from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.”

Sustainability means using North American hardwoods.

If it has not yet become clear, the stakeholder consultation for the forest sustainability risk assessment document which inspired this piece was but a small, local, component of an elaborate sham enabling the world to burn and otherwise consume the forests of entire continents – in comfort and with the guilt-neutralizing reassurance that: carbon is captured, rivers are purified, forests are healthy and expanding, biodiversity is thriving and protected, and “the rights of Indigenous and Traditional Peoples are upheld” as a result of our consumption. (FSC-NRA-USA, p71) That is the first phase of the plan – manufacturing / feigning consent. Next the regulatory hurdles must be eliminated or circumvented. Cue the Landscape Management Plan (LMP).

“Taken together, the actions taken by AFF [American Forest Foundation] over the implementation period have effectively set the stage for the implementation of a future DBC project to promote and expand SDE+1 qualifying certification systems for family landowners in the Southeast US and North America, generally.”

“As outlined in our proposal, research by AFF and others has demonstrated that the chief barrier for most landowners to participating in forest certification is the requirement to have a forest management plan. To address this significant challenge, AFF has developed an innovative tool, the Landscape Management Plan (LMP). An LMP is a document produced through a multi-stakeholder process that identifies, based on an analysis of geospatial data and existing regional conservation plans, forest conservation priorities at a landscape scale and management actions that can be applied at a parcel scale. This approach also utilizes publicly available datasets on a range of forest resources, including forest types, soils, threatened and endangered species, cultural resources and others, as well as social data regarding landowner motivations and practices. As a document, it meets all of the requirements for ATFS certification and is fully supported by PEFC and could be used in support of other programs such as other certification systems, alongside ATFS. Once an LMP has been developed for a region, and once foresters are trained in its use, the LMP allows landowners to use the landscape plan and derive a customized set of conservation practices to implement on their properties. This eliminates the need for a forester to write a complete individualized plan, saving the forester time and the landowner money. The forester is able to devote the time he or she would have spent writing the plan interacting with the landowner and making specific management recommendations, and / or visiting additional landowners.

With DBC support, AFF sought to leverage two existing LMPs in Alabama and Florida and successfully expanded certification in those states. In addition, AFF combined DBC funds with pre-existing commitments to contract with forestry consultants to design new LMPs in Arkansas and Louisiana. DBC grant funds were used to cover LMP activities between July 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 for these states, namely stakeholder engagement, two stakeholder workshops (one in each state Arkansas and Louisiana) and staffing.” (American Forest Foundation, 2, 7).

It is clear that global interests / morally bankrupt humans have been busy ignoring the advice of scientists, altering definitions, removing barriers to standardization / certification, and manufacturing consent; thus enabling the widespread burning of wood / biomass (read: earth’s remaining forests) to be recognized as renewable, clean, green-energy. Imagine: mining forests as the solution to deforestation, biodiversity loss, pollution, climate change, and economic stagnation. Meanwhile, mountains are scalped, rivers are poisoned, forests are gutted, biological diversity is annihilated, and the future of all life on earth is sold under the guise of sustainability.

Sustainability means USING North American hardwoods!

The perpetual mining of forests is merely one “natural climate solution” promising diminishing returns for Life on earth. While the rush is on to secure the necessary public consent (but not of the free, prior, and informed variety) to convert the forests of the world into clean energy (sawdust pellets) and novel materials, halfway around the planet and 5 kilometers below the surface of the Pacific another “nature based solution” that will utterly devastate marine ecosystems and further endanger life on earth – deep sea mining (DSM) – is employing the same strategy. Like the numerous other institutions that are formally entrusted with the protection of forests, water, air, biodiversity, and human rights, deep sea mining is overseen by an institution which has contradictory directives – to protect and to exploit. The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has already issued 17 exploration contracts and will begin issuing 30-year exploitation contracts across the 1.7 million square mile Clarion-Clipperton zone by 2024 – despite widespread calls for a ban / moratorium and fears of apocalyptic planetary repercussions. After decades of environmental protection measures enacted by thousands of agencies and institutions throwing countless billions at the “problems,” every indicator of planetary health that I am aware of has declined. It follows, then, that these institutions are incapable of exercising caution, acting ethically, protecting ecosystems, biodiversity or indigenous peoples, holding thieves, murderers and polluters accountable, or even respecting their own regulatory processes. Haeckel sums up industry regulation nicely in a recent nature article regarding the nascent DSM industry:

“…Amid this dearth of data, the ISA is pushing to finish its regulations next year. Its council met this month in Kingston, Jamaica, to work through a draft of the mining code, which covers all aspects — environmental, administrative and financial — of how the industry will operate. The ISA says that it is listening to scientists and incorporating their advice as it develops the regulations. “This is the most preparation that we’ve ever done for any industrial activity,” says Michael Lodge, the ISA’s secretary-general, who sees the mining code as giving general guidance, with room to develop more progressive standards over time.

And many scientists agree. “This is much better than we have acted in the past on oil and gas production, deforestation or disposal of nuclear waste,” says Matthias Haeckel, a biogeochemist at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany.” (Seabed Mining Is Coming — Bringing Mineral Riches and Fears of Epic Extinctions).

Of course, this “New Deal for Nature” requires “decarbonization” while producing billions of new electric cars, solar panels, wind mills, and hydroelectric dams. The metals for all the new batteries and techno-solutions have to come from somewhere, right? According to Global Sea Mineral Resources:

“Sustainable development, the growth of urban infrastructure and clean energy transition are combining to put enormous pressure on metal supplies.

Over the next 30 years the global population is set to expand by two billion people. That’s double the current populations of North, Central and South America combined. By 2050, 66 percent of us will live in cities. To support this swelling urban population, a city the size of Dubai will need to be built every month until the end of the century. This is a staggering statistic. At the same time, there is the urgent need to decarbonise the planet’s energy and transport systems. To achieve this, the world needs millions more wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicle batteries.

Urban infrastructure and clean energy technologies are extremely metal intensive and extracting metal from our planet comes at a cost. Often rainforests have to be cleared, mountains flattened, communities displaced and huge amounts of waste – much of it toxic – generated.

That is why we are looking at the deep sea as a potential alternative source of metals.”

(DSM-Facts, 2022).

Did you notice how there is scarcely room to imagine other possibilities (such as reducing our material and energy consumption, reorganizing our societies within the context of our ecosystems, voluntarily decreasing our reproductive rate, and sharing resources) within that narrative?

Do you still wonder why the processes of approving seabed mining in international waters and certifying an entire continent’s forests industry to be sustainable seem so similar? They are elements of the same scheme: a strategy to accumulate record profits through the valuation and exploitation of nature – aided and abetted by the non-profit industrial complex.

“The non-profit industrial complex (or the NPIC) is a system of relationships between: the State (or local and federal governments), the owning classes, foundations, and non-profit/NGO social service & social justice organizations that results in the surveillance, control, derailment, and everyday management of political movements.

The state uses non-profits to: monitor and control social justice movements; divert public monies into private hands through foundations; manage and control dissent in order to make the world safe for capitalism; redirect activist energies into career-based modes of organizing instead of mass-based organizing capable of actually transforming society; allow corporations to mask their exploitative and colonial work practices through “philanthropic” work; and encourage social movements to model themselves after capitalist structures rather than to challenge them.” (Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex | INCITE!).

The emergence of the NPIC has profoundly influenced the trajectory of global capitalism largely by inventing new conservation and the youth climate movement –

The “movement” that evades all systemic drivers of climate change and ecological devastation (militarism, capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy, etc.). […] The very same NGOs which set the Natural Capital agenda and protocols (via the Natural Capital Coalition, which has absorbed TEEB2) – with the Nature Conservancy and We Mean Business at the helm, are also the architects of the term “natural climate solutions”. (THE MANUFACTURING OF GRETA THUNBERG – FOR CONSENT: NATURAL CLIMATE MANIPULATIONS [VOLUME II, ACT VI]).

In the words of artist Hiroyuki Hamada:

“What’s infuriating about manipulations by the Non Profit Industrial Complex is that they harvest the goodwill of the people, especially young people. They target those who were not given the skills and knowledge to truly think for themselves by institutions which are designed to serve the ruling class. Capitalism operates systematically and structurally like a cage to raise domesticated animals. Those organizations and their projects which operate under false slogans of humanity in order to prop up the hierarchy of money and violence are fast becoming some of the most crucial elements of the invisible cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism.” (THE MANUFACTURING OF GRETA THUNBERG – FOR CONSENT: THE GREEN NEW DEAL IS THE TROJAN HORSE FOR THE FINANCIALIZATION OF NATURE [ACT V]).
We must understand that the false solutions proposed by these institutions will suck the remaining life out of this planet before you can say fourth industrial revolution.

“That is, the privatization, commodification, and objectification of nature, global in scale. That is, emerging markets and land acquisitions. That is, “payments for ecosystem services”. That is the financialization of nature, the corporate coup d’état of the commons that has finally come to wait on our doorstep.” (THE MANUFACTURING OF GRETA THUNBERG – FOR CONSENT: NATURAL CLIMATE MANIPULATIONS [VOLUME II, ACT VI].

An important point must never get lost amongst the swirling jargon, human-supremacy and unbridled greed: If we do not drastically reduce our material and energy consumption – rapidly – then We (that is, all living beings on the planet including humans) have no future.

In summary, decades of social engineering have set the stage for the blitzkrieg underway against our life-giving and sustaining mother planet in the name of sustainability industrial civilization. The success of the present assault requires the systematic division, distraction, discouragement, detention, and demonization (reinforced by powerful disinformation) and ultimately the destruction of all those who would resist. Remember also: capital, religion, race, gender, class, ideology, occupation, private property, and so forth, these are weapons of oppression wielded against us by the dominant patriarchal, colonizing, ecocidal, empire. That is not who We are. Our causes, our struggles, and our futures are one. Unless we refuse to play by their rules and coordinate our efforts, We will soon lose all that can be lost.

Learn more about deep sea mining (here); sign the Blue Planet Society petition (here) and the Pacific Blue Line statement (here). Tell the forest products industry that they do not have our consent and that you and hundreds of scientists see through their lies (here); divest from all extractive industry, and invest in its resistance instead (here). Inform yourself, talk to your loved-ones and community members and ask yourselves: what can we do to stop the destruction?

All flourishing is mutual. The inverse is also true.
“…future environmental conditions will be far more dangerous than currently believed. The scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its lifeforms—including humanity—is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts […] this dire situation places an extraordinary responsibility on scientists to speak out candidly and accurately when engaging with government, business, and the public.” – Top Scientists: We Face “A Ghastly Future”

—Austin is an ecocentric Appalachian ethnobotanist, gardener, forager, and seed saver. He acknowledges kinship with and responsibility to protect all life, land, water, and future generations—

1 (SDE++): Sustainable Energy Transition Subsidy

2 The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Banner photo by Rachel Wente-Chaney on Creative Commons

Europe Removed Dams at a Surprising Rate

Europe Removed Dams at a Surprising Rate

Editor’s note: Dams change the way rivers function and they impact water quality. Slow-moving or still artificial lakes heat up. This results in abnormal temperature fluctuations which affect sensitive species and lead to algal blooms and decreased oxygen levels. Organic materials build up behind dams and start to produce the perfect environment for carbon dioxide and methane producing microbes. Particularly, migratory species are badly affected by the presence of dams.

Although dams are being taken down in Europe and the US because people have begun to realize the dam-age they do to ecosystems, they are not coming down fast enough. Additionally, new ones continue to be built. At this point in the human caused ecological collapse of the planet’s life support systems, it would be best to leave dam building to the beavers. 

By Tara Lohan /The Revelator.

The 1999 demolition of the Edwards Dam on Maine’s Kennebec River set off a wave of dam removals across the United States. Since then some 1,200 dams have come down to help restore rivers and aquatic animals, improve water quality, and boost public safety — among other benefits.

Across the Atlantic, European nations have been busy removing thousands of river barriers, too. But until recently the efforts have gone largely unnoticed, even among experts.

Pao Fernández Garrido can attest to that.

An engineer and expert in ecosystem restoration from Spain, Fernández Garrido was finishing her master’s thesis in 2012 when she attend a dam-removal training in Massachusetts that was part of a conference on fish passage.

She was floored to learn about the United States’ widespread dam-removal efforts and returned to Europe determined to learn what was happening with dam removals on the continent — and to be a part of the action.

So did Herman Wanningen, a freshwater consultant  from the Netherlands, who also attended the conference. Fernández Garrido joined him when he founded the World Fish Migration Foundation in 2014. Soon after they helped form a coalition organization called Dam Removal Europe that also includes European Rivers Network, WWF, Rewilding Europe, the Rivers Trust, Wetlands International and the Nature Conservancy.

One of the first things Fernández Garrido and her colleagues wanted to know was the extent of river fragmentation on the continent. That wasn’t easy: While the United States has an exhaustive inventory of its 90,000 dams, not every European country, they learned, had collected similar data.

At the time not much was known beyond the fact that Europe had 7,000 large dams. But as their project to map river barriers, known as AMBER, got underway, they learned the on-the-ground reality included many smaller dams and other barriers — at least 1.2 million river barriers in 36 European countries.

Fernández Garrido and her colleagues spent more than three years on research, including river surveys in 26 countries, to gather the more robust data. Their results, published in Nature in 2020, found that on average river barriers occur almost every half mile.

Two-thirds of these barriers are under seven feet tall, but small doesn’t mean insignificant. Low-head dams and smaller obstructions like weirs and sluices can still block the movement of some fish, as well as aquatic plants, invertebrates, and the flow of sediment and nutrients.

Many of the dams — around 150,000 — are also obsolete and no longer provide any beneficial functions.

The good news, though, is that they also found that 4,000 European river barriers had already come down in the previous 20 years, with France, Finland, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom being the most active.

These efforts, though, had largely flown under the radar.

“Nobody was talking about these, nobody,” says Fernández Garrido. “The United States is celebrating that it has removed 1,200 and nobody’s celebrating in Europe because nobody knows.”

That’s changed as they continued with their work to compile research, organize supporters across the continent, and push policymakers for action.

In 2019 the researchers delivered a report on case studies of dam removals and their benefits to the European Commission. The following year the World Fish Migration Foundation published the first-ever Living Planet Index on the global state of migratory fish. It found that migratory freshwater fish populations in Europe had dropped 93% since 1970, much higher than the already dismal global average of 76%.

The cumulative weight of those findings may have had a big impact on policy.

That same year the European Commission published its biodiversity strategy for 2030.

“For the first time ever in history, it stated that we should free at least 25,000 kilometers (15,500 miles) of river in Europe from barriers by 2030,” says Fernández Garrido.

While that was welcome news, it was still only a guideline — not legally binding.

In May 2022, however, the commission followed up with a proposal called the EU Nature Restoration Law. “In this law, they say we must start removing dams,” she says. And the proposed language calls for restoring 15,500 miles of river to a “free-flowing state by 2030.”

The European Parliament will need to ratify the law in the next couple of years. “In the meantime politicians could work to weaken it,” she says. “That’s why environmental groups are working hard to keep it strong.”

On the ground, the work to restore free-flowing rivers continues.

Last year 239 river barriers were removed in 17 European countries, including more than 100 in Spain. Finland is in the process of removing three hydroelectric dams on the Hiitolanjoki River, which will aid salmon populations. And France is home to the tallest dam removal on the continent yet, the 118-foot Vezins Dam on the Sélune River in Normandy, which was removed in 2020. Demolition began this summer on a second dam on the river, La Roche Qui Boit, which will allow the Sélune to run free for the first time in 100 years. Migratory fish populations like salmon are expected to return, and the dam removals will also reduce toxic algae that pooled in the warm waters of the reservoirs during summer.

Some of this work — and more — is showcased in a new documentary, #DamBusters, by director Francisco Campos-Lopez of Magen Entertainment. The film follows Fernández Garrido across Europe as she meets dam-removal heroes in Spain, France, Estonia, Lithuania and Finland.

“Restoring nature is probably the job of our time, our generation,” she says in the film.

“Construction to remove Centreville Dam” by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

But it’s a process that will also take time.

“There are some river systems, like for example in North America, where the benefits of dam removal are shocking and so amazing because that river system was only blocked for only 100 years,” she tells The Revelator. “But when you are talking about recovering our river systems in Europe that have been controlled and mismanaged for 500 years, 600 years, 1,000 years, we have to be cautious about what we expect.”

But even if ecological restoration comes more gradually, political movement has been swift.

“The progress since we started in 2016 until now — having policies proposed at the European level — it’s amazing,” Fernández Garrido says. “It’s really an achievement.”

The combination of research, policy reports, political pressure and movement-building have kickstarted a river restoration effort that shows no signs of slowing down — and could be a model for other regions.

Photo by Yifu Wu on Unsplash