Colin Tudge

Biosphere Blues

What Nature Does for Britain


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Election ‘fever’ is mounting as I write and I marvel as always at the triviality and the moral timidity of most of what is being said. None of the major parties – apart from the Greens – engages seriously with the all too obvious fact that the stage on which humanity struts and frets is collapsing. The fabric of the Earth is falling apart; the myriad creatures that make it work are dying out. When the conventional parties remember to refer to the non-human world at all it is as a ‘resource’ or ‘amenity’. Even the word ‘environment’ is unsatisfactory. It suggests stage scenery and real estate. Far more preferable is ‘biosphere’, a term denoting the realm of living creatures, coined more than a hundred years ago by the Austrian geologist Eduard Suess. For all political parties apart from the Greens, the biosphere is an add-on: a piece of whimsy to capture a few votes when we have got the economy back in balance, whatever that means, and whenever that may be. 

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