Balancing human and natural worlds

14 Nov 2020

Loeb, J.

Vet Record Image

What is Planet Earth for?

If that sounds like the most infuriatingly philosophical question imaginable, perhaps the following may serve to add clarity: is the planet here for the sole convenience of our species, or do we have a duty to leave sufficient space for other species – even if that means doing things that could potentially harm our own kith and kin?

If it’s the latter, how, then, can we strike the right balance between advancing our human and societal priorities – for example, producing enough food and building enough homes for an expanding human population – and preserving or restoring homes for wildlife (in other words, maximising biodiversity)?

Far from being abstract, questions like these are now core to pragmatic policymaking.

Clashes between ‘human’ and ‘natural’ agendas are evident everywhere

While some might claim that there is no conflict between ‘human’ and ‘natural’ agendas, clashes are...