BBC says no pristine nature anymore


On the boat
Jan 24, 2016
Reaction score
Beyond The Furthest point of Navigation

Most scientists today would not claim that the majority of national parks around the world are pristine, however. Rangers and recreation-goers alike regularly crisscross those swaths of wilderness. Their ecological conditions are carefully managed and their animal populations are monitored and even adjusted. Indeed, a major reason national parks exist is “for the benefit and inspiration of all the people,” as one piece of US legislation put it – not to serve as virginal tracts safeguarded from humanity.

Given the scope of humanity’s seven billion-plus members’ reach, it’s hard to imagine that any spots of wilderness remain completely free from our influence. Climate change, for one, is already having global impacts. “We’re undoubtedly influencing the entire planet,” says Justin Adams, global managing director for lands at the Nature Conservancy. “So on one level there’s nowhere left on Earth that’s not touched by man.”

As this column explored in 2014, there are almost no unpolluted places left either. Air pollution blankets the planet, while debris plagues the deep sea to the Gobi Desert. It’s even difficult to find a spot that remains free from human noise for a mere 15 minutes. Our historic reach also seems quite profound; sophisticated tools like lidar – a remote sensing technology that uses lasers to examine the Earth’s surface – are revealing that even the seemingly remotest patches of tropical rainforest bear millennium-old human scars.

As for the oceans, they are affected by the same atmospheric pollution and climate change that blankets the land, plus there’s the ever-present problem of garbage and microplastic. “The ocean is unified,” says Maria Damanaki, global managing director of oceans for the Nature Conservancy. “You cannot escape from what is happening on the planet as a whole.”

more at