The Politicized Use of Landscape-Scale Mitigation (Part 3 of 4)


This is the third part of a four-part series. In Part One, we examined the UN’s ideology and goals as they relate to its quest for global governance. In Part Two, we looked at the DOI’s new land management strategy of landscape-scale mitigation and how remarkably well it interfaces with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In Part Three, we will examine the subtle methods used to convert legitimate uses of landscape-scale ecosystem management and mitigation into tools for political agendas.

Because landscape-scale ecosystem management and its associated tools of mitigation hierarchies are legitimate methods of ecosystem management, it can be difficult to determine when the policies behind their use have been hijacked to achieve ulterior purposes. This difficulty has not gone unnoticed and is in fact utilized as a strategy to cloak the effort to modify US ecosystem management policy to also accommodate the UN’s strategy for achieving global governance. With the US having accepted the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, there can be little doubt that the Federal government is working towards ends that are at least sympathetic to the UN’s efforts, if not in outright lock-step.

How can you tell the difference between the legitimate use of landscape-scale ecosystem management and mitigation and a hijacked version? By the scope of the implementation. A legitimate use of these principles is very narrowly targeted to achieve a very specific end, whereas the use of these principles to achieve political purposes have very broad and generalized implementations. A generalized and broad scope is what allows the politicized implementations to achieve both legitimate and ulterior ends.

An article on Pri.org cites a couple of examples of how landscape-scale mitigation banking was used in ways that could be characterized as legitimate. The general idea behind them in terms of their structure was this: Ahead of any planned solar energy development, the landscape-scale ecosystem was evaluated, and sensitive or at-risk species were identified. Important habitat strongholds within the greater ecosystem were also identified. These strongholds were then earmarked as potential mitigation banking locations, and the potential costs to further strengthen them were identified.

Later, when developers looked at locating solar energy farms there, all the information regarding siting locations that would have the least environmental impact already existed. Further, the locations and costs of creating mitigation banks in other habitat strongholds in the ecosystem were already identified and available to inform and streamline the development process.

This method of habitat management is proving to find acceptance with both developers, who like being able to determine the costs of mitigation quickly and up-front, as well as with environmental organizations who like the clear picture of how species and habitat are being protected. Critically important to note is that the scope of this approach is narrow and targeted to specific development projects but uses landscape-scale planning and mitigation tools to find solutions.

The following quote from the blog, “Green New Deal debate underscores climate urgency” on Wilderness.org is an example of a broadly-scoped politicized approach to landscape-scale methods:

“We can mitigate the fragmentation and habitat loss caused by climate change if we practice “landscape-scale conservation.” That means that rather than protecting isolated islands of land, we conserve large, interconnected, unfragmented landscapes that allow wildlife to migrate and move freely. The most crucial landscapes are those kept free from development or other undue human interference, like federally protected wilderness areas or wild corridors linking national parks and other big public lands to one another. Protecting pieces of public land is our best bet for allowing all of nature’s diversity to shuffle around in a warming world.

In addition to helping ecosystems adapt, we must conserve public land in such a way that all people enjoy equal ability to access them.”

This approach is different from the first in that it is infused with political ideology. First, it not only requires landscape-scale conservation on public lands, it requires them to be interconnected and unfragmented. What land is between the unconnected and fragmented landscape-scale public lands that would be used to connect and defragment the public lands? Private land. How would this private land be made suitable for use as wild corridors? Government management of private land use. The statement that “Protecting pieces of public land is our best bet for allowing all of nature’s diversity to shuffle around in a warming world,” is completely disingenuous because it is not the public lands that would allow nature’s diversity to shuffle around, it is the “wild corridors” of private land that would allow it.

It is also very important to understand that the “shuffling around” is not only talking about a deer being able to walk from one national park to another. It is talking about the ability of an entire temperate ecosystem, flora and fauna alike, to gradually migrate north as climate change warms its current location beyond its ability to sustain itself there. In other words, the private wild corridors will become the new location of the landscape-scale ecosystem as it is pushed northward by climate change. These corridors will need to be managed now, in the opinion of those promoting these ideas, to make them suitable for making that transition in the future.

The statement, “In addition to helping ecosystems adapt, we must conserve public land in such a way that all people enjoy equal ability to access them” is very carefully worded. It is not saying that all people should have access to public land, it is saying that what access people are granted should be granted equally. The idea that development is to be non-existent and that public access is to be very limited is made very clear by the statement, “The most crucial landscapes are those kept free from development or other undue human interference.”

Here, the scope of landscape-scale ecosystem management is not limited to a specific development or protection of a specific species. Instead it is more of a general policy statement open to interpretations that would enable politically motivated outcomes. This begs the question, if private lands are to become the new protected landscape-scale ecosystem, how can development be allowed on them now? That is what the true hidden agenda of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is all about: development cannot be allowed at the landowner’s discretion.

Central planning is the only way this broad an interpretation of landscape-scale ecosystem management can be implemented. With land areas this large, and for time horizons so distant, the planning must necessarily include where people can live, where they can work, how they can commute, and where they can be allowed to go when they are not working. A global implementation of this ideology would require a centralized global government.

With the DOI’s intent to “incorporate landscape-scale approaches into all facets of development and conservation planning and mitigation”, it will be possible for interested parties to inject the UN’s agenda into the management of landscape-scale ecosystems across the country. As indicated earlier, the initial primary targets for this would be transboundary ecosystems covered by treaties.

In Part Four, we will look at how treaties can become powerful and dangerous instruments of socio-economic change in the US by hijacking the principles of landscape-scale ecosystem management and mitigation.