The single most valuable thing on our planet is the last remaining wilderness areas.
In today’s world, wilderness is hard to find. Wilderness are areas where there is no human extraction, no human intervention and where open-ended undefined natural dynamic processes govern. Conserving wilderness is one of the most important responsibilities for the human race in the 21st century.
Conserving nature in general and wilderness in particular is a large part of the solution to some of the toughest challenges that we, as a species, have ever faced. We are at the cusp of making irreparable damage to the ecosystem that sustains us. Many scientists will even argue that we are already past the point of no return.
Wilderness performs a range of natural, social, economic, cultural and spiritual functions more efficiently than modified landscapes. Healthy, biodiverse ecosystems provide the goods and services that we need for our well-being. Many of these goods and services are in decline, such as fresh water, marine life, the cleansing of atmospheric pollutants, protection from natural hazards, pollination of our crops and pest control. The loss of biological diversity destabilises ecosystems and makes them more vulnerable to shocks and disturbances, which may further reduce the ability of environments to provide for human well-being. Conservation helps people thrive by uniting them to solve the toughest challenges facing our land, air, and water. Habitat loss and degradation create the biggest single source of pressure on biodiversity worldwide. Habitat loss is largely accounted for by conversion of wild lands to agriculture, which now accounts for some 30% of land globally. We need to bring together business, landowners and government to steward the resources that we all depend on in ways that make long-term sustainable economic sense.
In my view, the greatest hurdle to effective conservation of nature is the emotional and physical distance between humans and nature. We only protect what we love, and we only love what we know.
Knowing wilderness is a deeply personal journey of exploration and adventure. A journey that many are frightened by due to our often-sheltered urban existence. My personal mission is to inspire people to experience wilderness. This will maximise the likelihood of a natural desire in people to prioritise conservation of nature and wilderness.
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